Afghan Archaeologists trained in Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Afghan Archaeologists trained in Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

“Programs like this UNESCO training can help archaeologists reach independence”, says Mr. Sultan Masoud, one of 10 archaeologists from the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) that have taken part in a three-week course on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) applied to archaeology.
“Archaeology began in Afghanistan around 1922” he adds, “but it was usually done without much Afghan involvement. Thus, Afghan professionals have a long way to become self-sufficient and programs like this can help”.
This GIS training was organized by UNESCO in the framework of the Afghanistan Heritage and Extraction Industries Development Initiative. The World Bank-funded project supports two Ministries, the MoIC and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MOMP), to manage the archaeological remains of a historical Buddhist city in Mes Aynak. The site is considered to be one of the most important of its kind and is set within one of the world’s largest copper deposits. GIS-technology is being used to determine the outline and extent of the archaeological remains, and to accurately record and document them, to ensure that mining-work and ongoing excavations are coordinated and can be conducted for the benefit of Afghanistan’s future.
Several other areas, in whicharchaeological interests and natural resources collide, have been identified by the UNESCO initiative. The workshop enables MoIC experts to use and develop GIS technology independently, allowing them to preserve the integrity of these heritage sites.
“Afghanistan hosts thousands of important archaeological sites and it is in need of qualified archaeologists, and programs like this can get us closer to the goal” stresses Mr. Masoud.
Over the course of the training, the participants have acquired a better understanding of how to collect and organize archaeological Information, increased their comprehension of the uses of GIS and learned how to collect and report topographic information for archaeological areas. The workshop has been designed as a consolidation of a training carried out in February 2018. In an on-the job setting, the participants learned practical implications of GIS-theory and could gain
extend experience in the field.

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