- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
Jordan creates online archaeology treasure trove
AMMAN, JORDAN (AP) - Jordan on Tuesday launched the world’s largest online antiquities database, which details every archaeological site in the country and aims to help preserve its treasures. Its creators said the Web platform could be a model for Iraq, where looters have plundered its ancient heritage.
Experts said the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities is the first such countrywide system. The site uses Geographic Information System, similar to Google Earth, to map 11,000 registered sites in the country _ and a click on each reveals inventories of what they contain and reports on their conditions.
The public can use the material for planning visits. Scholars and inspectors approved by Jordan’s Antiquities can update the information in a user-friendly way for other professionals to follow and for authorities to keep track of threats to the sites.
Jordan hosts a number of World Heritage sites, most famously the 2,000 year-old rose rock city of Petra _ but also Umm er-Rassas, a city dating back to the 5th century that features ancient Byzantine churches, and Qasr Amra, an 8th century Islamic castle. It is also dotted with sites dating from the Neolithic Age, through Biblical times to the Crusades.
The $1 million MEGA program was developed in cooperation with Getty Institute of Los Angeles and the New York-based World Monuments Fund.
“A piece of software is not going to stop looting,” Whalen said, but MEGA’s cataloging system will enable “greater protection and attention to archaeological heritage.”
Archaeologists have increasingly used GIS and similar technologies to inventory digs and other uses. But Barbara A. Porter, director of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, said that MEGA “is the first of its kind.”
“It has been a huge undertaking in terms of its breadth, time and finance. Rarely do you find that amount of money involved in creating such a system,” said Porter, whose center was not involved in developing MEGA.
Joseph Greene, the assistant director at Harvard University’s Semitic Museum, said MEGA stands out from among other GIS archaeological systems, which have been more narrow in scope and intention.
MEGA is the “first countrywide system used by an antiquities department” and is unique because it can used both for research and for managing sites in a readily usable format, he said.
The online system defines the boundaries of each site, an important factor in trying to prevent urban encroachment on antiquities zones, its creators say. It can help authorities in planning strategies for research and tourism development, and makes it easier for government agencies to share information. Those working in the field can report theft of wear and tear caused by tourist traffic.
Whalen said MEGA will give Iraqi colleagues a modern way to inventory the country’s sites, their condition, potential threats, but “most importantly identify their geographical boundaries in a relatively easy-to-use system.”
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Obama: Nelson Mandela now 'belongs to the ages'
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, dies at age 95
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Activists encourage Obama to circumvent Congress, use more executive authority
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!