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This audio slideshow explores how Gaza’s archaeologists work to preserve the area’s antiquities despite a lack of funding and international assistance.
Ghassan Weshah, head of the department of archaeology at the Islamic University of Gaza, says the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has warned that various Palestinian archaeological sites, including the monastery of St Hilarion, are endangered.
With few resources, exacerbated by an eight-year blockade, archaeologists in Gaza have had to find innovative home-grown ways to maintain the territory’s historical sites. They have developed their own compounds made from local materials to restore and preserve antiquities. Government budget cuts and the withdrawal of European experts and equipment have also forced Gaza to adopt simpler methods, such as using local workers to manually dig during archaeological excavations, says Jamal Abu Reeda, the director-general of the Ministry of Tourism’s General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage.