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Marchetti, Nicole; Curci, Antonio; Gatto, Maria Carmela; Nicolini, Serena; Muehl, Simone and Zaina, Federico (2019): A multi-scalar approach for assessing the impact of dams on the cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa. In: Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol. 37: pp. 17-28

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This paper provides a detailed assessment on the impact of dams on archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and emphasizes the lack of established protocols for documenting and preserving cultural heritage at the local, national and international level. We considered four case studies at different scales-Turkey, the Euphrates river, the two Aswan dams and the planned Makhul dam-in order to identify different issues related to the construction of dams as well as to propose some best practices for pre-flooding assessment of dam impact on cultural heritage. Our method integrates archaeological and geo-spatial open-access datasets, organized in a GIS environment made available through the online platform http://www.orientlab.net/orientdams/in order to foster data sharing and research replicability. We have mapped almost 2500 flooded archaeological sites and approximately 1300 km of ancient rivers submerged by dam reservoirs in the selected case studies across the MENA area. These numbers are actually incomplete, since large portions of the reservoir areas have not been systematically investigated. We conclude by underlining the urgent need for strategies for the documentation and protection of archaeological sites and monuments in the planning of hydraulic infrastructures at the international, national and local levels, as well as the need for a general operative protocol. Funders of development works, first and foremost the World Bank, should review their current policies, which do not offer sufficient protection of cultural heritage. (c) 2018 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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