BIAA-led Safeguarding And Rescuing Archaeological Assets (SARAA) Project funded by the Cultural Protection Fund


14 October 2021

The BIAA, in collaboration with Lebanese NGO BILADI, is delighted to announce Safeguarding and Rescuing Archaeological Assets (SARAA), a new project funded by The British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

SARAA will expand upon the results of the Europa Nostra Award-winning Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey (SARAT) Project, and facilitate international knowledge exchange between Turkish and Lebanese heritage professionals.

This project will build the capacity of current and future heritage professionals working at archaeological sites and museums throughout Lebanon, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Tyre, Baalbek and Byblos as well as site and national museums. In addition to being sites of globally-significant cultural heritage, these archaeological assets have particular importance in modern Lebanon as they are among the least contested elements of Lebanese heritage and play an important role in unifying people across religious divides.

Activities will include working with Lebanese academics to adapt SARAT Project course materials to the Lebanese context and then making these resources publicly available in both Arabic and English. These materials will also be used to train experienced heritage professionals from across Lebanon, so that they can train additional professionals, volunteers and future-professionals beyond the project’s lifetime. In particular, this project will respond to the need for basic cultural heritage emergency response skills and knowledge by capacity-building archaeology students, museum staff and other heritage professionals to prepare for and respond to conflict-related emergencies. Additionally, the SARAA Project will work with the heritage-emergency trained individuals in Lebanon, former and current CPF-funded projects in Lebanon and Turkey, former SARAT online course graduates and other stakeholders to share knowledge and best practices as well as raise awareness of the under-reported risks to cultural heritage in Lebanon.

The archaeological assets of Lebanon face significant risks, including from civil war and aerial bombing from neighbouring countries. In addition, sites and museums are threatened by looting resulting from rioting connected to the current economic crisis and the collapse of governmental systems.

SARAA will be led by the BIAA and coordinated by SARAT Project Coordinator Dr Gül Pulhan, and by BILADI Manager Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly.