Symposium takes fresh look at archaeology, cultural heritage

WHAT: “Beyond Destruction: Archaeology and cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa,” a two-day symposium aimed at moving beyond reactions to looting and destruction in favor of scholars, local communities, government officials, artists, the public and practitioners working together from the early stages on issues of cultural heritage, cultural preservation and research.

The program – free and open to the public – is sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES).

It will be streamed live online at  Symposium videos and podcasts will be available by the end of March at and available for use in the classroom and/or translation.


7 p.m., Friday, March 11, at the  Báde Museum of Biblical Archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley.

9:15 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, March 12, in the James Lau Auditorium, 106 Stanley Hall, on the UC Berkeley campus.


Patty Gerstenblith, a professor of law at DePaul University and director of its Center for Art, Museum and Cultural Heritage Law, will deliver the keynote address Friday, March 11.

Saturday’s program will feature expert panels focusing on politics and practice.

A noontime event will feature a crowd-sourced art exhibition, Pop-up Palmyra, a digital archaeology project to “virtually” remodel Palmyra, an ancient city site where several buildings have been destroyed since it came under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). CMES and UC Berkeley’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology are organizing professional and non-professional artistic responses from the Berkeley community to Palmyra’s destruction with a display in the Stanley Hall Atrium on March 12, and at other campus locations during Cal Day on April 16. Details about artistic submissions – which range from paintings, poetry, sculpture, video art, a podcast and even a modern dance – are available online.

At 1 p.m., Egyptian archaeologist and activist Monica Hanna of American University in Cairo, known for her work exposing antiquity-looting in Egypt, will deliver a keynote address.