EAMENA’s Project Directors have been at the forefront of aerial archaeology in the Middle East for over two decades, undertaking annual aerial reconnaissance expeditions in conjunction with the Royal Jordanian Air Force to collect up-to-date images of the landscape and archaeological sites of Jordan. These images are then digitised and stored in the online ‘Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East’, along with digitised historic collections of aerial photographs from across the region. The archive (available online at: www.apaame.org) has provided an invaluable tool for researchers to analyse and compare sites in the region over time but critically this work has also highlighted the accelerated risk to sites, in particular from agricultural and urban expansion.
EAMENA’s project directors recognised that a radical step change was required to move from analysing and interpreting sites to responding directly to these threats and so EAMENA was established in January 2015. The majority of the team are based in the School of Archaeology at Oxford with two other members based at the Archaeology Department, University of Leicester. This project is the first to analyse aerial data from across the whole MENA region and also to focus on the levels and types of threats to sites, including looting.
EAMENA’s primary aim is to rapidly record and evaluate the status of the archaeological landscape of the MENA region in order to create an accessible body of data which can be used by national and international heritage professionals to target those sites most in danger and better plan and implement the preservation and protection of this heritage.