PROJECT ANQA: DIGITIZING AND DOCUMENTING CULTURAL HERITAGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The practice of digitizing cultural heritage sites is gaining ground among conservation scientists and scholars in architecture, art history, computer science, and related fields. Recently, the location of such sites in areas of intense conflict has highlighted the urgent need for documenting cultural heritage for the purposes of preservation and posterity. The complex histories of such sites requires more than just their digitization, and should also include the meaningful interpretation of buildings and their surroundings with respect to context and intangible values. Project Anqa is an interdisciplinary and multi-partner effort that goes beyond simple digitization to record at-risk heritage sites throughout the Middle East and Saharan Africa, most notably in Syria and Iraq, before they are altered or destroyed. Through a collaborative process, Anqa assembles documentation, historically contextualizes it, and makes data accessible and useful for scholars, peers, and the wider public through state-of-the-art tools. The aim of the project is to engage in capacity-building on the ground in Syria and Iraq, as well as to create an educational web platform that informs viewers about cultural heritage in the region through research, digital storytelling, and the experience of virtual environments.