skip navigation

ASOR Media Note—For Immediate Release

Syrian Heritage Initiative:
Planning for Safeguarding Heritage Sites in Syri

Syrian Heritage Initiative logo with US Flag

On August 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of State and the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) signed a $600,000 cooperative agreement to document comprehensively the current condition of cultural heritage sites in Syria and assess future restoration, preservation, and protection needs. ASOR’s documentation and planning will raise global awareness of the threats to Syria’s cultural heritage and identify immediate or future projects and assistance that can be carried out and provided inside Syria. ASOR’s Syrian Heritage Initiative—Planning for Safeguarding Heritage Sites in Syria is led by five co-directors / co-principal investigators: Scott Branting (ASOR), Jesse Casana (University of Arkansas), Michael Danti (Boston University and ASOR), Abdal-Razzaq Moaz (Indiana University and ASOR), and Andrew Vaughn (ASOR). LeeAnn Barnes Gordon (ASOR) serves as Project Manager for Conservation and Heritage Preservation. The international team also includes more than 30 additional scholars and specialists who will serve as co-investigators, consultants, or advisors.

The United States is committed to protecting cultural heritage from pillage, looting, and illicit trafficking around the world, and this cooperative agreement is part of a larger U.S. Department of State effort to preserve Syria’s historic sites and treasures. The destruction of Syria’s rich heritage risks losing a cultural legacy of universal importance and jeopardizes the role it can play in post-conflict reconciliation and economic revitalization efforts. To learn more about the State Department’s efforts to protect Syria’s culture heritage, please visit

ASOR, founded in 1900 and currently located at Boston University, is the preeminent organization of archaeologists and historians who initiate, encourage and support research into, and public understanding of, the cultures and history of the Near East. This cooperative agreement is jointly managed by ASOR ( and the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Cultural Heritage Center of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). For further information, please contact ECA’s Office of Public Affairs and Strategic Communications or ASOR’s executive office ( 

Learn more at ASOR's Syrian Heritage Initiative website.

The American Schools of Oriental Research
Located at Boston University
656 Beacon Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02215
Telephone: 617-353-6570



Back to News

The American Schools of Oriental Research | Contact | Overseas Centers | Facebook September 22, 2014