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Preserving Cultural Heritage: What Can We Do?
Emma Cunliffe, Peter Stone, Jonathan Tubb, and Donna Yates. Chair: Rolf Achilles

  • Sunday 19 June 2016, 5.00PM to 6.30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • Ron Cooke Hub, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

University of York

A panel of experts will discuss how the world is responding to the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, and, more broadly, what can be done to preserve cultural heritage throughout the world. A panel discussion with:

  • Rolf Achilles, Art Historian (Chair)   
  • Emma Cunliffe, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford
  • Peter Stone, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace, Newcastle University
  • Jonathan Tubb, Keeper of Department of the Middle East, British Museum
  • Donna Yates, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow   

About the speakers

Rolf Achilles is an art historian, writer and photographer. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is on the Driehaus Museum Board of Directors. He is Editor of the Dictionary of American History and Curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, Chicago.

Rolf has published a number of books including   Blistex: The First 50 Years; The Story of the Chicago Cultural Center; and Made in Illinois. He was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and is an Honorary Freeman, Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, London. In addition, he is an Honorary Ambassador to Hamburg, and Art Historian and Preservationist at large for Hamburg, Prague and Vienna. 

Dr Emma Cunliffe is a Research Associate with the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford where she is working on the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project. Her research interests focus on the types of damage sustained by archaeological sites in the Middle East in peace and war, and developing ways of identifying and recording the threats using satellite imagery and social media. This work has primarily focused on Syria and Iraq. As a part of this, she is interested in civil-military relations before, during, and after conflict.

Her other research interest is the links between wellbeing, heritage, and communities, and the effects when they are separated. Emma is a member of the UK Committee of the Blue Shield, a charity working to protect archaeological sites from conflict and natural disasters, and a volunteer for the NGO Heritage for Peace ( She is also an advisory member of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative (

Professor Peter Stone is the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University. He has been heavily involved in the creation and development of the World Archaeological Congress (WAC) and was the Honorary Chief Executive Officer of WAC between 1998 and 2008. He has worked as a consultant and advisor regarding heritage education, interpretation and management in many parts of the world and was part of the team that developed the World Heritage Education project for UNESCO. Peter joined the staff at Newcastle in 1997.

In 2003 Peter became the special advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence regarding the identification and protection of the cultural heritage in Iraq. He was the Chair of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site Management Plan Committee (2005-2012), a member of the Culture Committee of the UK National Commission for UNESCO (2005-2011), and a member of the National Archaeology Panel of the National Trust (2005-2012).

Jonathan Tubb is Keeper of the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum. Jonathan trained in Levantine archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology in London, and began his field career in Syria in the 1970s, serving for eight years as Assistant Director of the Institute’s excavations at Qadesh on the Orontes. 

In 1984 he began directing excavations in Jordan on behalf of the British Museum, first at the Early Bronze Age site of Tiwal esh-Sharqi in the Jordan Valley and then, in 1985, at the nearby major site of Tell es-Sa’idiyeh, a project which is continuing to this day. An expert on the Canaanites and Phoenicians, he is particularly interested in the Bronze and Iron Ages (c. 3400-300 BC), and is a leading authority on the pottery and metalwork of these periods. One of his special interests is the rise of historical Israel, and the historicity of the biblical narratives.

Dr Donna Yates is Lecturer in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include: looting and trafficking of antiquities and cultural property; art crime; heritage protection and preservation; archaeology and heritage law and regulatory development; Latin American archaeology; culture and politics of the Andes, and Indigenous social and political movements.


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