p03kk836BBC Radio 4 has a series called The Museum of Lost Objects presented by Kanishk Tharoor, and produced by Maryam Maruf which “traces the stories of 10 antiquities or ancient sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.” There are currently five episodes available to listen to or download, and you can subscribe to the podcast here. 

One of the episodes is on the Temple of Bel, demolished by ISIS in August 2015.

In this BBC article on Palmyra’s history and what happened there, there are interviews with people about their memories of the ancient site and what heritage means to them.


Among those cited in the story is Zenobia al-Asaad, whose father, archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, was killed by ISIS.

“Palmyra the ancient city will always be a part of me, but I can’t really imagine going back to Palmyra walking along the paths, looking at the sites without my father, he’s the one who made us love this place.

Salam al-Kuntar from the University of Pennsylvania Museum is also cited:

“My grandfather was a policeman serving in Palmyra and my grandmother wasn’t even 20 years old when she got married and moved to Palmyra. The Palmyrene women taught her how to make bread and cook. I hear many stories about the building, how people used the space, how children played around, including my mum. So that’s what it means to me. This is the meaning of heritage – it’s not only architecture or artefacts that are representing history, it’s these memories and ancestral connection to the place.”



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