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Endangered Cultural Heritage: Global Mapping of Protected and Heritage Sites

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Technical Report

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ERDC-CERL Champaign United States

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Through its many global missions, the United States Army has not always recognized nor allocated sufficient resources to protect cultural heritage sites in active military zones. This pattern is changing, however, especially as a result of incidents that occurred during antiterrorism military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. To change that pattern, the Engineer Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is designing an interactive mapping program that provides information on possible suitable locations for future military movement and campsites. As part of that work, and in light of past frictions between military actions and cultural heritage preservation, both cultural anthropologists and archaeologists have contributed information about the locations of sacred sites, heritage landscapes, archaeological remains, and other locations of cultural and religious importance. These locations are then noted within the mapping program as areas that are culturally unsuitable for military movement or settlement, similar to noting areas that would be logistically or environmentally unsuitable. This paper discusses the project and its plans for implementation, in hopes of de-coupling the past link between military action and unintentional damage or destruction of cultural heritage sites as well as expanding the knowledge base on these issues in the military community.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History

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