Russia To Help Syria Preserve Ancient Town Resafa - Archeologist

Russia to Help Syria Preserve Ancient Town Resafa - Archeologist

ST. PETERSBURG (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th November, 2021) Russia sent a team of rescue archeologists to Syria to make a digital copy of the ancient town of Resafa, a UNESCO-recognized Syrian heritage site, the lead scientist behind the effort told Sputnik.

Resafa was a walled desert outpost during the Roman times before becoming a pilgrimage destination in the 4th century as the fabled final resting place of Roman soldier turned Christian saint Sergius.

The walled town, which also served as a fortress, was conquered by the Arabs three centuries later and completely abandoned in the 13th century when Mongols and Turks invaded the area.

Islamist militants seized Resafa in 2017, reportedly booby-trapping its massive walls, gates and what is assumed to be Basilica of St. Sergius, before Syrian troops reclaimed it during the Raqqa offensive.

Natalya Solovyova, the head of the Rescue Archeology Center at the Russian academy of Sciences' Institute of Material Culture History, said the center was working together with the Syrian Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) to preserve early Christian artifacts.

"Our task is to collect as much data as possible and create a 3D scan," she said, referring to Resafa's Christian-era relics in the city. "We plan to assess the damage and the scale of illegal digging and pass this information on to DGAM."

Solovyova said that the St.Petersburg-based center would also send a 3D scan to the UN cultural heritage agency UNESCO. Around a dozen Christian temples across Syria will be scanned as part of the Russian-Syrian project.