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C.H.E.R.M. — Result In Brief

Project ID: 31724
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Italy

A cultural bridge between Europe and Africa

What formerly served as a bridge for humanity now serves to connect researchers from Africa and Europe with a common goal – a better understanding of our human history.
A cultural bridge between Europe and Africa
Northwestern Africa is a crucial link between the European and African continents. Physical borders including the sea, mountains and the Saharan Desert have concentrated flows of people through this region. For this reason, it is extremely rich in cultural heritage.

Unfortunately, proper conservation of these sites has not been a priority. In order to ensure these treasures are not lost forever, an important collaboration between scientists from the two continents was initiated. The project was titled ‘Cultural heritage enhancement in the region of Maghreb. Integrated approach to the Mediterranean prehistoric cultural heritage: the case of Maghreb' (C.H.E.R.M.) and received funding from the EU.

The primary goal of C.H.E.R.M. was to establish a network of experts in archaeology, anthropology, genetics and palaeo-environmental science. Members were recruited from both sides of the Mediterranean and cooperation with local government and national conservation organisations was deemed an essential component of the network. Technology also played an important role in the form of a geographical information system (GIS) for developing and maintaining an electronic record of the various sites. Workshops provided a forum for the exchange of ideas, presentation of the latest research results of teams working in the region and a discussion of standards and protocols.

To complement the work of the experts, significant effort was made to educate the public regarding the value of this cultural heritage. Presentations were made in the five countries comprising the northwestern part of Africa known as the Maghreb – specifically, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. A website was also set up to take the message to a larger audience.

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