Sunday, 5 May 2013

Looting in Syria: Watch this Space



I have just finished a marathon thirteen hours systematically scanning the Google Earth coverage of Syria, area by area, looking for evidence of looted sites. The initial idea was to put the Apamea photos in a wider context. The results were very thought-provoking indeed, and not a little surprising. I will try and write it up tomorrow.

Sadly most of the photos were from 2012, when I think that if I want to do it properly, I'll have to repeat it when Google get the 2013 photos up, I'm too tired now....

Still, if one actually wanted to fly over every known site in the country at a height of between 100 and 300 metres, it would take a good few weeks. But there's some really interesting things down there on the ground in Syria.

It is taking a longer time to write this up properly than I initially thought, I want to double-check each one, the main problem is for most of Syria, the latest photos are of the situation at the beginning of or middle of 2012, so if any looting is taking place after that, it is not going to show up on that resource.  Just to jump the gun however, what I found is that Apamea (also photos of 2012) is rather an exception. there is very little visible evidence of extensive looting in the Google Earth photos, and that applies also to sites where journalists have stories saying they were dug into for objects to sell "for guns", so this situation is far more complex than the stories we have today are suggesting. I'll get round to writing it all up in the next week or so. Of course I'll have to do it all again when the 2013+ photos become available.

Vignette: Satellite photos of Syria

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