S. H. Savage 1 / G. Palumbo 2
(1 Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA / 2 Director of Archaeological Conservation, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, World Monuments Fund, Paris, France)

The combined impacts of population growth, rapid planned and unplanned development, looting and warfare in the Middle East have placed tremendous pressure on the region’s cultural resources and on the government agencies responsible for managing them. In Jordan and Iraq, GIS based solutions are being deployed that deliver archaeological site and project metadata, assisting ongoing efforts to locate, preserve, and develop cultural resources. These countries use a common database design, implemented in MS SQL Server, with an MS Access front-end and embedded GIS mapping controls that deliver site and project information against a background of satellite images and topographic maps. The system links tabular metadata to an unlimited number of site photographs, to written reports, and to other, more detailed databases developed for specific sites, monuments within a site, and artifact collections. This modular system allows the development of detailed assessments of site condition that can lead to an accurate monitoring of cultural heritage at risk. Users can query the map directly, drawing areas of potential impact on screen and retrieving sites and projects that fall within a specified distance of the queried region. Attribute tables can be queried through any combination of fields. Results of either map or attribute queries can be printed or exported to smaller Access-formatted databases for use by fieldworkers. Changing conditions on known sites, and newly discovered sites can be added to the exported subsets in the field, and re-integrated into the central database through an import function. The common database design between Jordan and Iraq allows archaeological resources to be investigated independently of modern national boundaries. With the development of GIS in all sectors of public facilities in Jordan and Iraq, from infrastructure to urban development, these systems will be able to provide real-time answers to engineers and site planners, so that unnecessary destruction of cultural resources is avoided, and archaeological sites can become part of a development process, instead of being considered an obstacle to it.