Regular Updates about the Syrian Museums
Experience has proved that the museums are particularly vulnerable during conflicts, in particular in the case of civil war: destruction, looting, robbery. As documented by Syrian NGOs this has been the case in Syria. See for instance the report produced by the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology: http://apsa2011.com/index.php/fr/rapports-d-apsa.
As they are often located in city-centres, museums and archaeological warehouses can also be affected by collateral damage. Secure packing of artefacts in storage is a particular concern. We sometimes receive direct information and emergency calls from Syrian museums.
The need to undertake emergency moves in response to local threats can disturb not just the objects but also the archives of these institutions, in particular the museum inventories. Loss of documentation is, unfortunately, only to be expected under such circumstances.
We intend to draw the attention of international bodies and the community of scholars to particular situations. s h i r ī n will seek to provide regular updates and will relay them to the relevant associations and institutions.
Digital Inventories of Museums of Syria (DIMS)
In light of the permanent threat of destruction or looting to museums in Syria, and to create a tool for the detection of stolen items subject to illicit trafficking, s h i r ī n is encouraging the creation of a Digital Inventories of Museums of Syria (DIMS).
This project aims to produce a large database of the inventories of all the Museums of Syria, working in close cooperation with the Directory-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), international organizations (UNESCO), other relevant projects and the directors of excavations in Syria.
The main source for the database will be the official registers of the museums provided by the DIMS. The final product will be an illustrated list, with standardized information for each item, which will be accessible through the internet. The project is currently in its initial stages and negotiations are in hand to refine the concept. Further information will be provided in due course.