Zainab Bahrani

My commitment: Preserving historical artifacts to protect cultural heritage threatened by war

Given the ravages of war faced by Iraq, the condition of its cultural heritage may seem a trivial matter. But as a historian of antiquity, I am painfully aware of the extensive damage done to the region’s identity by the destruction of its cultural treasures.

It is not only the artifacts that are lost, stolen, and destroyed. The loss of this data is the loss of the ancient history of this land. It is crucial to document remaining cultural treasures before it’s too late.

My work with Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments catalogs Mesopotamia’s historical landscape and creates a digital foundation for future preservation work, so these important histories are not wiped out. This documentation spans monuments and historical architecture—everything from ancient Assyrian archaeological sites and carved cliff faces to early Christian churches, Islamic and Ottoman mosques, shrines, statues, and tombs. This goes beyond academia and directly affects human rights and lives through protecting the region’s cultural heritage.

 

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