Chairs: G. Selz / F. Schipper, Österreich

The endangering of the world cultural heritage of mankind in the Near East became awfully obvious during the course of and in the aftermath of the 3rd Gulf War in Iraq. Especially this recent war has bluntly shown that international conventions for the protection of cultural property have a very limited effect and find restricted observance in the course of war. And still the plundering continues – and not only in war-shaken Iraq. The tense political situation throughout the whole Near East gives every reason to worry also about an increasing danger for the world cultural heritage in this region. In this situation modern technology, computer applications and digital data bases may serve decisively for an evaluation of the current state of preservation and the damages of cultural property, for possible later preservation and prevention work – and for the future of the cultural heritage in the Near East. The symposium “Looted Past – Digitalized Future?” within the 9th International Workshop “Computer and Archaeology” shall be a forum to deliver information on new and successful projects, to exchange information and to coordinate efforts. Corresponding to the varying possibilities of employment of computer systems the symposium is divided into two sessions: A) The use of computer supported systems for the documentation and protection of archaeological sites, e.g. the use of geographical information systems for the protection of cultural property.
B) The use of digitalisation and the employment of databases for the documentation and protection of artefacts; fields of application are archives, images and excavation documentations, collections of museums also cuneiform tablets etc.
Intentions and perspectives of coordination, access and publication of relevant data via a central organisation unit (e.g. at the UNESCO) shall be discussed in the course of both sessions as well.