Mapping Africa’s Endangered Archaeological Sites and Monuments

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MAEASaM uses the latest innovations in mapping and documentation of archaeological sites and monuments yet to be discovered in eight African countries through satellite imagery. The project provides estimations on a multitude of threats regarding the sites. The information gathered within this project is available in open access formats through a platform.

Africa’s rich heritage includes a wide range of sites from the palaeolithic and early stone age to the 20th century; aside from the recognised world heritage sites, many archaeological sites remain untapped. The recent development efforts across African countries in minerals extraction, agriculture, irrigation, and more threaten these sites, which the project aims to highlight and protect.

MAEASaM works with the site custodians in Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The project results are curated for different stakeholders and interest groups and available in the open-access Arches geospatial relational database.

The project creates through sites typology and distribution records, using “remote sensing, records-based research and selective archaeological surveys”. Furthermore, MAEASaM identifies and assesses future threats proposing new approaches, measures and management policies to ensure the sites’ long-term protection and sustainability.

Communication and dissemination practices are at the project’s core to guarantee its’ success. Community driven workshops and training events are in place for participatory management and raising awareness beyond the project’s scope. Moreover, the project engages the academic and cultural sectors by organising conferences and publishing papers reaching audiences internationally. BIEA and the National museums of Kenya will host a final showcase event with online and offline presentation materials. The use of social media and communication practices as a website and newsletter aims to raise awareness of the diverse archaeological heritage of Africa and calls for its protection.

Our take

MAEASaM is a necessary project for the documentation and protection of African sites and promotes new initiatives and methodologies applicable to regions and areas worldwide. Their multimodal approach to mapping, documentation and communication and promotion of participatory practices is critical to attaining the project’s objectives. We hope to see more of the generated results and their inclusion and application across sites in Africa.

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The project collaborates with

Mapping Archaeological Heritage in South Asia project (MAHSA)


Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA)

Maritime Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (MarEA)

Central Asian Archaeological Landscapes (CAAL)

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