Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Desperation of the archaeologist

The situation of the archaeological sites across Syria is pretty desperate. It is a fact that some of the country’s highest-profile historic sites are being compromised by fighting and as if that is not enough, by looting.

It is heartwarming to hear that local volunteers are risking their lives to preserve and protect as much as possible Syria’s irreplaceable monuments and mosaics. Like earlier in countries as Afghanistan and Iraq, civilians have turned over thousands of ancients artifacts for safekeeping.


In their despair, curators and experts have recently set up workshops in Turkey, close to the Syrian border, in order to teach the Syrians some basic emergency conservation techniques. There are different ways to secure objects and collections, and one of such a procedure is simply wrapping ceramics and mosaics in Tyvek, a tough plastic used in construction, before burying the precious pieces.

Aleppo as it was in 2009

Of course, this kind of salvation cannot be applied to buildings and cities. The famous Crusaders’ castle of Crack des Chevaliers was shelled while it was used as a rebel stronghold. The historic center of Aleppo was sadly devastated in the early days of the fighting and now even the walls of its grand Citadel have been blown to pieces. Meanwhile, all eyes are fixed on Palmyra in the hope this magnificent city will be spared.

Looting is a thriving business and the satellite images of Apamea and Dura-Europos, for instance, speak for themselves as the cities look like a sequence of bomb craters. Classical objects, i.e. those belonging to ancient Rome and Greece are rather easy to sell on the black market as their provenance is hard to track down.

In a desperate attempt to limit the damage, the American Schools of Oriental Research is going to document the museum collections and the cultural sites of Syria in the hope that law enforcement officials can spot looted items more efficiently. Every little bit helps.

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