Institute of Archaeology


Archaeology, Data Science, and Heritage in the Middle East: Challenges in a Multi-crisis World

04 May 2023, 6:30 pm–9:00 pm

Combined image with three pictures - people standing in a cave-like location wearing hard-hats with torches, software to record heritage showing a map of Europe, part of Asia and North Africa in various shades of red, another map with sites marked

Professor Mark Altaweel (UCL Institute of Archaeology) will give his Inaugural Lecture at UCL on 4 May.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Prof Andrew Reynolds


Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6
UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
United Kingdom


Heritage and archaeology can be easily seen as low priorities in our modern world so often full of challenges that affect our societies. The modern Middle East faces some incredible threats ranging from social conflict to environmental change. However, we see numerous cases where even in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances people prioritise their past over material needs. The goal for me, as a Near East archaeologist interested in unlocking the past, has been to make my work relevant to understanding the past but also present its importance to modern difficulties the Middle East faces. Examples of how archaeology and computational science mixed with heritage can help address modern problems are discussed. Perhaps more critically, archaeology and heritage research may need to anticipate what comes next for a troubled region rather than be behind the curve. The presentation will also investigate where research could help future regional obstacles and how modern university programmes on the ancient Near East fit in all of this. 

Doors will open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

About the Speaker

Mark Altaweel

Professor of Near East Archaeology and Archaeological Data Science at UCL Institute of Archaeology

Dark-haired man in dark coloured jumper standing in front of a whiteboard and a table with a colourful cloth on which are a pottery vessel and picture

Throughout his career, Mark Altaweel has focused on understanding the past but also researching the relevance of the past to the present. In doing this, he has applied a variety of computational methods that integrate data from online digital repositories to imagery and print. He also has extensively researched the ancient Near East, where he has focused on studying the past environment, landscape, and social change that has shaped our modern world.

More about Mark Altaweel