ASOR's Cultural Heritage Initiatives is an international, collaborative effort to respond to the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and northern Iraq. We have assembled a team of scholars with professional connections to leading academic and cultural institutions in Syria, Iraq, the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Lebanon, and Jordan. Groups of concerned citizens in Syria and Iraq have been taking action, and our international team has formed alliances and partnerships with these groups. The following list includes our co-directors, co-investigators, consultants, and advisors. Most are serving as volunteers, and we are grateful for their service. We are also actively seeking more volunteers. Please contact us if you are willing to help.

Principal Investigators

Michael-#1_200x250Michael D. Danti
Principal Investigator and Academic Director
University of Pennsylvania Museum and ASOR, 617-358-1397

Academic Director of ASOR CHI. Dr. Michael Danti is an archaeologist with over 25 years experience directing archaeological programs in Syria, Iraq, and Iran. He has authored numerous works on the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East as well as cultural heritage management and cultural property protection. He currently serves as Academic Director of the American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives (CHI) established through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State in 2014. Danti also directs the Rowanduz Archaeological Program (RAP) in Iraqi Kurdistan, which includes archaeological excavations, surveys, and preservation initiatives in the Zagros Mountains of northeastern Erbil Province. RAP’s primary objectives are to document and preserve cultural resources in this virtually unexplored region along the Iraq-Iran border. Danti was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2011 and serves as a Consulting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

Andy-Vaughn_200x250Andrew G. Vaughn
Principal Investigator and Administrative Director, ASOR Executive Director
ASOR, 617-353-6574

ASOR Executive Director and Administrative Director of ASOR CHI, Dr. Vaughn has served as ASOR's Executive Director since 2007. His duties also include serving as the Administrative Director for ASOR's Cultural Heritage Initiatives. Prior to 2007, he was Associate Professor and department chair at Gustavus Adolphus College. He received the Ph.D. degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996 in the area of Hebrew Bible.

Scott-Branting_200x250Scott Branting
Principal Investigator for Geospatial Inventories and Arches Development,
University of Central Florida and ASOR

PI for Heritage Mapping and Data Integration with the Cultural Heritage Initiatives. Associate Professor at University of Central Florida. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Branting was director of Geospatial Initiatives at ASOR for the 2014-15 academic year. He previously served for ten years as the Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Co-Investigators and Volunteer Sr. Cultural Heritage Advisors

Samir AbdulacSamir Abdulac
Chair of ICOMOS Working Group for Syria and Iraq

Chair of the ICOMOS Working Group for the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, Vice-President of ICOMOS Committee on Historic Towns and Villages and recently served as Secretary General of ICOMOS France. Dr. Abdulac was the founder of a Conseil d’Architecture, d’Urbanisme et de l’Environnement, and has extensive professional experience in the revitalization of historic centers in Arab countries where he has participated in projects with UNESCO, UNDP, Harvard University, the World Bank, and local governments. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the Université Vincennes-Saint-Denis and was decorated as “Officier des Arts et Lettres.”

Lisa AckermanLisa Ackerman
World Monuments Fund

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of World Monuments Fund, which has assisted in the documentation and conservation of historic sites in more than 100 countries. Ms. Ackerman holds an appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute. Previously Ms. Ackerman served as Executive Vice President of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Ms. Ackerman holds an MS degree in Historic Preservation from Pratt Institute, an MBA from New York University, and a BA from Middlebury College. She serves on the boards of Historic House Trust of New York City and New York Preservation Archive Project. In 2007 she received Historic District Council's Landmarks Lion award. In 2008, Ms. Ackerman was named the first recipient of US/ICOMOS Ann Webster Smith Award for International Heritage Achievement.

Amr Al-AzmAmr Al-Azm
Director The Day After, and Shawnee State University,

Founder and board member of The Day After Project (TDA) and Associate Professor of History and Anthropology at Shawnee State University, formerly of Brigham Young University (2006-2009), the University of Damascus (1999-2006) and the Arab European University (2005-2006). Dr. al-Azm previously served as the Director of Scientific and Conservation Laboratories at the General Department of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) (1999-2004). He holds a Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University College London (UCL).

Zaki AslanZaki Aslan

Director ICCROM- ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, and ICCROM's Regional Representative for the Arab States. Dr. Aslan holds a Ph.D. in Heritage Conservation and Management from the University College London, United Kingdom, and an MSc in Conservation of the Built Environment from the University of Montreal, Canada (1991). He has managed ICCROM’s programme for the protection of cultural heritage in the Arab region from Rome since 2003. Aslan provided technical advice to the Arab States in the Mediterranean and Gulf countries on heritage conservation, management and planning, World Heritage procedures, national heritage strategies and governance, technical guidance through publications, as well as heritage education. He is honorary senior lecturer at University College London, and served as adjunct professor at the American University of Sharjah in the fields of Heritage Conservation, and Islamic Art and Architecture. He is a regular commentator on the destruction of heritage in the Middle-East and is seeking an internationally coordinated response.

Karin BartlKarin Bartl
German Archaeological Institute

Director of the Damascus Branch of the Orient-Department at the German Archaeological Institute. Dr. Bartl has conducted numerous archaeological projects in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Since 2013 she is active in the Syrian Heritage Archive Project of the German Archaeological Institute and the Museum of Islamic Art, which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. Dr. Bartl holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology from the Free University Berlin.

Robert BewleyRobert Bewley
EAMENA, University of Oxford

Honorary Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London (UCL) and Project Director for the Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA). Dr. Bewley has extensive archaeological field experience conducting aerial and field surveys, excavations, and aerial archaeology training workshops in Britain, and the Middle East and North Africa. He holds an M.Phil in in Palaeolithic Archaeology and a PhD in Prehistoric Settlement Archaeology from the University of Cambridge.

Samuel Carrier
Oberlin College

Emeritus Associate Professor of Psychology at Oberlin College. Dr. Carrier has twenty years experience in academic administration as Provost for Oberlin College and has previously worked for the Sangro Valley Project in Italy (1999) and the Cyrenaica Archaeological Project in Libya (2004). He has experience working in Libya as a member of the American Mission to Libya since 2005. Dr. Carrier holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California Berkeley. He is an IT specialist for the American Mission.

michelFortin_200x250Michel Fortin
University of Laval,

Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Director of the Department of Historical Studies Université Laval, Quebec. Dr. Fortin is also the Head of the Archaeology Lab for the Middle East at Université Laval and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. He has extensive excavation experience in Syria, specifically at Tell ‘Atij and Tell Gudeda in the Hasakah region (1986-1993) and at Tell ‘Acharneh in the Orontes Valley (1998-2010). Dr. Fortin holds a Ph.D. from the University of London.

Timothy HarrisonTimothy Harrison
University of Toronto and Director of the CRANE Project

Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. Dr. Harrison earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Chicago in 1995, completing a dissertation on the Early Bronze Age in the Highlands of Central Jordan. He has directed excavations at the Bronze and Iron Age site of Tell Madaba, Jordan, and currently is directing the Tayinat Archaeological Project on the Plain of Antioch in southeastern Turkey. In 2012, he launched the CRANE Project (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East), an international consortium of projects conducting research in the Orontes Watershed ( He served as President of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) between 2008 and 2013, and currently is Chair of the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto.

Stephen SavageStephen Savage

Affiliated Researcher for the Center for Cyber-Archaeology & Sustainability at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Savage is a former Affiliated Professor for the school of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University (ASU), and the developer of the Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land, Mediterranean Archaeological Network, the Aegean Digital Archaeological Atlas, and TerraWatchers. Dr. Savage holds a PhD. in Anthropology and Archaeology from ASU.

Stefan SimonStefan Simon
Yale University

Inaugural Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) at Yale University and founder, and former director, of the private laboratory KDC Konservierung & Denkmalpflege Cons. in Olching, Germany. Dr. Simon previously served as Director for the Rathgen Research Laboratory at the National Museums in Berlin and led the Building Materials section at the Getty Conservation Institute (2005). He received an Honorary Professorship at X’ian Jiaotong University, China and at the Technical University of Berlin. Dr. Simon holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.

Gil SteinGil Stein
Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology for the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Formerly of Northwestern University, Dr. Stein has conducted extensive archaeological fieldwork in Turkey and Syria. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (1988).

Jeanne Marie TeutonicoJeanne Marie Teutonico
Getty Conservation Institute

Associate Director, Programs, at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles. An architectural conservator with over thirty years of experience in the conservation of buildings and sites, she was previously on the staff of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome and later of English Heritage in London. Ms. Teutonico holds an A.B. (Hons) in art history from Princeton University and a M.Sc. in historic preservation from Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is published widely and maintains research interests in the conservation and sustainable use of traditional building materials. She was a Resident of the American Academy in Rome in 2009, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Association for Preservation Technology.

Christopher Tuttle
Executive Director of CAORC

Executive Director of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Dr. Tuttle previously served as the Associate Director of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan (2009-2014) and is a member of seven cultural heritage and conservation committees including the Cultural Heritage Committee at the American School of Oriental Research and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization/International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Dr. Tuttle holds a Ph.D. from the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University (2009).

Richard-Zettler_200x250Richard Zettler
Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania

Department Chair of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Near East Section at the Penn Museum. Dr. Zettler worked at Nippur, Umm al-Hafriyat and Üç Tepe in Iraq and directed excavations at Tell es-Sweyhat in Syria from 1989-2007. He is currently Associate Director of the Rowanduz Archaeology Project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Dr. Zettler holds an MA and Ph.D. (1984) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago.

Project Managers, Coordinators, and Contractors

Penacho 250x200Susan Penacho
Project Manager for Geospatial Initiatives

Project Manager for ASOR CHI Geospatial Initiatives, she is responsible for satellite imagery analysis and the continuing growth of the heritage inventory. Dr. Penacho received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2015, completing a dissertation on a spatial analysis of clay sealings within Nubian Fortresses of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom. She previously worked as the Associate Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the Oriental Institute. As an archaeologist, she has worked in Egypt and Turkey focusing on 2D and 3D site mapping and aerial photography.

Will RaynoldsWill Raynolds
Project Manager for Cultural Heritage Projects

Co-director of the Garden Collection at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (Egypt), and consultant for the World Monuments Fund (Haiti) and the American Archaeological Mission in Libya. Following his time at Yarmouk University (Jordan), where he was a Fulbright Fellow affiliated with the Department of Archaeology, Mr. Raynolds completed his MSc. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, New York (2009).

Image of Jared KollerJared Koller
Manager for Data Management and Web Development
ASOR and Boston University

Website and Database Developer for ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives. Mr. Koller is a doctoral candidate in Archaeology at Boston University. He has conducted research in Bir Madkhur, Jordan, and in the Ifugao Province of the Philippines, where he utilized new media tools to conduct experimental investigations in the area’s landscape changes over time. Mr. Koller holds an MA in History and New Media from George Mason University (2010) and a BA in Anthropology-Archaeology from the University of New Mexico (2005).

Image of Marina GabrielMarina Gabriel
Project Manager for Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding

Ms. Gabriel is responsible for conducting research and reporting for ASOR CHI monthly and special reports, specializing on the military and political content. Previously Ms. Gabriel worked in Egypt and Jordan, focusing on human and refugee rights before completing her MA in International Affairs at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School (2015). She has conducted archaeological fieldwork with Boston University at Torre d'en Galmes in Menorca, Spain (2009).

Darren AshbyDarren P. Ashby, Ph.D.
Project Manager for Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Heritage Projects

Dr. Ashby is currently the Project Manager for ASOR CHI's Jewish Cultural Heritage Initiative (JCHI), a joint-project of ASOR CHI and the Foundation for Jewish Heritage. Dr. Ashby received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2017. His dissertation analyzed regional variation in third-millennium BCE religious architecture in southern Iraq. He has conducted archaeological research in Iraq and Syria.

Bijan RouhaniBijan Rouhani
Project Contractor for Cultural Heritage Planning and Preservation
International Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICORP)

Project Specialist in Risk Management and Built Heritage. Bijan received his PhD in 2010 in Conservation of Architectural Heritage from La Sapienza, the University of Rome, Italy. His research was on International Principles for the Protection of Cultural Heritage during Armed Conflict. He works as a conservation architect and cultural heritage consultant. His field of interest is reducing risks to cultural heritage sites, especially in times of armed conflict and natural disasters. He is Vice President of the ICOMOS International Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICORP) and a member of the Blue Shield.

Ali Yasin JubouriAli Yasin Jubouri
Project Contractor for Cultural Heritage Projects
Mosul University

As a Professor and Chair at the Archaeology Department at Mosul University, Dr. Jubouri has conducted extensive fieldwork in Iraq, including several excavations at the ancient site of Nineveh. He has been a visiting scholar at several universities and a participant at many international conferences, both in Iraq and abroad. Dr. Jubouri holds a PhD. in Akkadian Language (Assyriology) from the University of London (1984).


Frank Braemer
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique,

Suzanne Davis
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology,

Andrew Moore
Archaeological Institute of America,

Gaetano Palumbo
World Monuments Fund,

Graham Philip
Durham University,

Nasser Rabbat
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nasser@MIT.EDU

Advisory Board

Emma Cunliffe
Oxford University,

The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, California

Mohammad Rafique Mughal
Boston University,

Stephennie Mulder
The University of Texas at Austin,

Christopher Rollston
The George Washington University,

Helene Sader
American University of Beirut,

Donald Whitcomb
University of Chicago,

Research Staff

Danny Breegi
Research Assistant

Kyra Kaercher
Research Assistant

Rim Lababidi
Research Assistant

Anthony Lauricella
Geospatial Analyst

Marshall Schurtz
Research Assistant


Laila Abdel-Malek

David Elitzer

Olga Goussev-Sushinsky

Morgane Lirette

Cailee Mellen

Erin Van Gessel

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