Visualizing the impact of dams on heritage in the Near East.


Dams of the Near East between development and depauperation
The OrientDams Project
The Website

The current website – actually a work in progress – presents in a scientific fashion the elaborations and studies carried out for characterizing the impact on near eastern landscapes represented by the construction of dams, supplying the scholarly community with an elaborate tool of unprecedented precision. The website, branching from the OrientGIS project, will continue to be updated.




We at OrientDams believe in open access and sharing of scientific information: this website is about calling for a cooperation among scholars to explore and visualize our models on a historical landscape for which we do possess significant archaeological data. We do believe in networked science, in contrasting our differing views on the past with the aim of refining our understanding of social and economic processes. Engagement means believing in the value of digital outputs, of sharing ideas, of open discussions: for this reason, we are looking forward to cooperating with all scholars willing to confer – with due credit – their own materials and elaborations on landscapes affected by the creation of dams in the Near East to this website so that it becomes an open forum and a place in which experimenting different methodological approaches for assessing the impact of dams on the natural and cultural heritage.

OrientGIS map.


The OrientDams Project is funded as a Unit of the HeAT project benefiting of a JPI CH Heritage Plus 2015-2018 grant, with Nicolò Marchetti of the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna as the Unit scientific responsible. The materials presented in this research website can be freely used respecting their licencing agreement (all our original elaborations are the copyleft of the OrientDams Project). All individual and corporate credits are listed under each image, with – where of interest – some technical explanations attached too.

Satellite imagery and cartographic materials have been downloaded, georeferenced and then elaborated or modified by the team of the DICAM Department in Bologna, led by Gabriele Bitelli with Francesca Franci. Federico Zaina has been invaluable in designing the GIS shapefiles for the distribution of sites and in handling survey data.

This website has been conceived by Nicolò Marchetti (Scientific Editor), with Silvano Bertossa (Web Engineer) setting up the PostgreSQL and GeoServer server for the webgis, Valentina Orrù Web designer and Webmaster, Francesca Franci and Federico Zaina editing and managing the OrientDams webgis.


B i b l i o g r a p h y.

N. Marchetti – A. Curci – M.C. Gatto – S. Nicolini – S. Muhl – F. Zaina 2019 A Multiscalar Approach for Assessing the Impact of Dams on the Cultural Heritage in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Journal of Cultural Heritage 37, 17-28.

N. Marchetti – F. Zaina 2018 Documenting Submerged Cultural Heritage. Dams and Archaeology in South-eastern Turkey. In M. Kinzel – M.B. Thuesen – I. Thuesen (eds.), Culture and Conflict. Understanding Threats to Heritage, Copenhagen, Orbis, 28-35.