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INESC TEC project for the development of digital technologies to safeguard archaeological heritage

In November, INESC TEC launched the SHIELD project, focused on adapting an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) against looting activities at archaeological sites.

26th November 2020

The main goal of this project is to both monitor and prevent illegal excavations, and INESC TEC is responsible for customising a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with perception sensors, thus adapting it to patrol and monitor archaeological sites.

Moreover, the SHIELD was selected among 63 proposals that were evaluated as eligible for the JPICH Conservation, Protection, and Use Call – and according to the final ranking list provided after the assessment by the international panel, the project achieved the top position in Europe.

The kick-off meeting of the SHIELD project, “Safeguard Heritage In Endangered Looted Districts”, took place on November 9. The event was organised by STARC/APAC and CARE-C/USRL labs of The Cyprus Institute, in partnership with the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (Italy) and the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (Portugal).

The meeting, organised online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, involved the participation of different agents, such as the Department of Antiquity of Cyprus, the Cyprus Police, the Israeli Antiquity Authority and ICOMOS. The meeting featured presentations by these authorities, concerning the Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property in Israel and Cyprus, as well as a presentation that showed an international outlook on the question, provided by ICOMOS-ICHAM. The second part of the meeting focused on technical presentations by the consortium partners, related to the Work Packages of the SHIELD project.

The partnership between the members of the consortium was formalised through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, on November 13 2019, aimed at improving their collaboration on the development and use of digital technologies (aerial and terrestrial) dedicated to protect archaeological heritage.