Figure 3: The landing page of the Yemen Heritage Management Platform

EAMENA, UNESCO, and Yemeni authorities collaborate to build a national digital database to monitor Yemen’s rich heritage landscapes

Following a successful grant increase bid earlier this month to the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund (CPF), the Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) Project will now embark on the construction of a digital heritage management platform to help support the vital work of Yemen’s national authorities.

Figure 1. Fassu’ah Fort. Showing the isolated Fassu’ah Fort and the two birkas in for foreground. Image, R.H Bewley, APAAME_20151006_RHB-0108, 2015.

The Ottoman Hajj Forts of Southern Jordan: a tale of damage and preservation

I first visited Jordan in 2006 as the Landscape Archaeologist for the Great Arab Revolt Project (GARP, n.d.). Over nine seasons, this project investigated the archaeology of the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918 and discovered extensive Ottoman militarisation of a landscape built to defend the Hejaz Railway against attacks from the Hashemite Arab Army and British forces (Saunders 2018).

Figure 3 Oblique aerial photograph of St Catherine’s Monastery looking north, taken by John Clubb (683 Squadron RAF) in 1951

Results from the EAMENA aerial photograph appeal: St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai (Egypt)

In May 2017, the EAMENA project launched an appeal for historical aerial photographs to aid the team in the identification of archaeological sites and possible factors threatening them. A subsequent post on the same appeal in the Royal Air Force Association magazine Air Mail led to a number of responses, including one from John Clubb, a former navigator in 683 Squadron RAF.

The UCL Institute of Archaeology Air Survey Photographs: an archaeological reference collection of Royal Air Force aerial imagery from 1918–1939

The UCL Institute of Archaeology Collections Air Survey photographs comprise a series of glass plate negatives, cellulose negatives, safety negatives, and prints of Royal Air Force (RAF) aerial photographs taken between 1918 and 1939. The photographs are predominantly of Iraq, the former Transjordan, Egypt, and Sudan (see distribution map).

A satellite image overlaid with the approximate location of archaeological features immediately north of Azraq, Jordan.

Historical aerial photographs and archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa

Historical aerial photographs are of great value for the EAMENA project, and we have recent launched an appeal to locate any held in archives or private collections. They can be analysed in conjunction with more recent photographs or satellite images and used to identify archaeological sites that have since been lost or altered by subsequent development, or to assess broader landscape change.