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Brown bag: At-Risk World Heritage and Cyber-Archaeology

Levy’s team capturing high-definition digital photographs of the Royal Tombs at Petra, Jordan, using a helium balloon system. Credit: Thomas Levy, UC San Diego

Priceless world cultural heritage sites are being destroyed through damage done by the Islamic State and other groups in the Middle East. Last year, Thomas Levy, PhD, received a grant from UCOP to tackle this acute crisis in collaboration with archaeology faculty at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Merced. The “At-Risk World Heritage and the Digital Humanities” cultural preservation project encompasses over 10,000 years of cultural materials, architecture and landscapes. It uses conventional and modern techniques to study the effects of disasters—both natural and manmade—and to forecast endangered sites.

To learn about this crucial preservation work, come to Levy’s brown bag talk, “At-Risk World Heritage and Cyber-Archaeology: A UC President’s Research Catalyst Award Project.”

Date: Friday, March 24
Time: 12 to 1 p.m.
Location: Franklin Lobby 1

Levy is a distinguished professor who holds the Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands at UC San Diego. He is a member of the department of anthropology and Judaic studies program, and leads the cyber-archaeology research group at the Qualcomm Institute, California Center of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Levy is a Levantine field archaeologist with interests in the role of technology, especially early mining and metallurgy, on social evolution. A fellow of the Explorers Club, Levy won the 2011 Lowell Thomas Award for “Exploring the World’s Greatest Mysteries.” Levy has published 12 books and several hundred scholarly articles. His recent book, “Historical Biblical Archaeology – The New Pragmatism,” won the distinction of Best Scholarly Book from the Biblical Archaeology Society. Levy’s work on cyber-archaeology was recently featured in The Atlantic magazine.

Questions about this event? Contact Chris Spitzer at

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