5. Aerial Photography and Satellite Imagery

Dura-Europos’ city walls, grid plan, excavated buildings, and tombs on the outskirts can be seen in aerial photographs taken at different times over the past century, originally in connection with French military operations in the 1920s. Today, satellite images that have recently been made accessible serve as important records of illicit digging and looting at sites in Syria and Iraq: archaeologists refer to these views as “lunar surfaces” and use them to monitor damage. At Dura-Europos, looters’ pits and heavy machinery inside and outside the city walls are visible in images produced after the conflict began in Syria in 2011.

The Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project began in 2015 at the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, with additional team members based at the Universities of Leicester and Durham. Using data from satellite imagery and published reports, the EAMENA database is a key resource that provides information for researchers and heritage professionals about archaeological sites and landscapes which are under threat.


Interview with Dr. Nichole Sheldrick, an EAMENA team member.  | 


  1. Aerial view of Dura-Europos from the north in 1934

  2. Aerial view of Dura-Europos from the east in 1997

  3. Satellite view of Dura-Europos on February 14, 2011

  4. Satellite View of Dura-Europos on January 23, 2017