In collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute, WMF, the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, a modern, web-based inventory for archaeological sites, known as Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA) has been developed to record and monitor condition data at heritage sites in Iraq and Jordan. The system uses GIS as the basis for site identification and can hold robust condition information, images, maps, and other data. An essential feature of the program is that it is bi-lingual in English and Arabic. While it was conceived as a tool for Jordan and Iraq, other countries in the region have expressed interest in learning more about the program and its potential use more broadly throughout the Arabic-speaking Middle East.
How We Helped
For several years, WMF, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities have been collaborating on the software development, data entry, technical training and professional coordination necessary to implement a fully functional database. After its deployment in the Amman and Irbid governorates of Jordan, WMF and the Getty Conservation Institute are working with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) to implement this system in Iraq.
Why It Matters
Agencies like the Department of Antiquities in Jordan and the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) have vast responsibilities for monitoring and safeguarding cultural heritage. The sustainability of fragile archaeological sites depends on the most current information being readily available to the professionals in charge of protecting these sites. The program uses GIS to map all archaeological sites in the country and provide essential data on site conditions with continuous updates on any ongoing changes , information that is noteworthy both from an archaeological and conservation vantage point. Powerful database tools such as MEGA, provides easy access to site documentation used for planning, conservation, and research decisions.