What we've been up to...

We've been actively developing the database thesaurus in Russian, Chinese and English (whew!) and consolidating the many complex terms, especially the time periods, some of which are still debated among scholars in different countries. While this is ongoing Marco and Gai have been visiting teams in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for GIS training so that as soon as the thesaurus is finalised people can begin looking at the area via satellite and seeing what there is to see. Gai and the team from Archaeological Expertise (Kazakhstan) have been doing ground survey with UAVs. Tim wrote a short report of what they explored at Bunjikat, Tajikistan with only a couple of days on the ground working with Bobomullo of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography named after A. Donish.

Inside the archives, teams have taken an inventory and scanning is underway. How fascinating it is to see what archaeologists discovered and the records they created. We are looking forward to sharing some of these with you. A single folder encapsulates the site but also the archaeologists and the socio-economic, political and sociocultural times in which they lived and carried out their research. These records are being added to an open access interactive map where – soon – you will be able to search and find out more about sites. Scroll down to the bottom of any page on the website or this link helps you Take Action where you can get in touch as well as subscribe to the newsletter which you'll receive monthly. We want to hear from you!

As melting glaciers in Central Asia are already causing changes to local environments (see Sarah Forgesson's inaugural blog) it is important to understand how these put added stress on already at-risk archaeological landscapes and the communities who live in them. While CAAL teams use remote sensing to look carefully at the landscapes we are flagging endangered places and making this data available to decision makers on the ground. The ability of stakeholders to develop resilient management plans depends on their access to information and we proudly contribute to the knowledge base. #climateaction

Stay tuned…this is a massive project and while I'd love to share all the behind-the-scenes (resulting in soooo many photos of people at conference tables looking at screens) believe me when I say we are beavering away constructing a stable first of its kind digital inventory for a geographically, linguistically and culturally diverse region with an equally varied group of teams based in 6 countries (resulting in soooo many photos of people on the phone). As archival scans and remote sensing images become increasingly available and interconnected, we will Tweet and post so follow the project at @uclcaal.