Scanning for Syria conference and exhibition opening

Start date
End date
National Museum of Antiquities (RMO), Leiden
Peter Akkermans studying two clay tablets found at Tell Sabi Abyad
Peter Akkermans studying two clay tablets found at Tell Sabi Abyad

What if archaeologists cannot work on location, because of war or conflict, and the artifacts have been stolen or the archaeological site demolished?  Syrian cultural heritage has been under attack for more than seven years now.  Archaeologists team up with engineers in the Scanning for Syria project to solve these problems. Scanners and 3D printing enlarge our knowledge of the past and make up our archaeology of the future.

Delft University of Technology, Leiden University and the RMO organize the Archaeology of the Future symposium and the Scanning for Syria exhibition where we look at a number of techniques to safeguard cultural heritage and to benefit archaeological science.

In the scientific morning session experts will share their know-how in digitally preserving all sorts of small size archaeological artefacts (pots, vases, ornaments, statutes, weapons, fabrics, etc). They will disclose novel concepts for the re-use of virtual replicas by a multitude of stakeholders ranging from scholars and museums to the gaming and creative industries.

In the afternoon, focus will be on the safeguarding of a very special collection of clay tablets stolen in Raqqa during the fog of the Syrian Civil war. The significance of the tablets and their wedge scripts will be highlighted as well as the long term Dutch Syrian collaboration in Syrian archaeology.

The symposium will be followed by the opening of the pop-up exhibition Scanning for Syria and close with a reception. The exhibition will inform the public on recent advances in innovative methods for artefact reproduction. It will draw attention to ongoing initiatives to safeguard important Syrian archaeological heritage, taking as example the remains uncovered by Leiden archaeologists at the Tell Sabi Abyad site from 1996 till the start of the war in Syria.

The symposium and exhibition are organized jointly by TU Delft and its Leiden based-partners: the Faculty of Archaeology, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Global Heritage and Development, and the National Museum of Antiquities. They take place within the framework of a KIEM-Creative Industry project. 

Registration will open soon. Please visit the website of the RMO:

For more information contact: Mara de Groot,