INA – BAGHDAD – The British Museum
The world’s oldest bridge, located in the south of Iraq, is soon to be to be saved for future generations thanks to the Museum’s pioneering emergency heritage management project.
The bridge at Tello was built in the third millennium BC, making it the oldest bridge still in existence. This remarkable survival will be preserved by a team of British Museum archaeologists and Iraqi heritage professionals who are being trained to protect ancient sites that have suffered damage at the hands of Daesh. Restoring the 4,000-year-old bridge will be a potent symbol for a nation emerging from decades of war.
The British Museum is proud to be working with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage to undertake this work as part of the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme. The bridge’s conservation will be part of the fourth phase of the Scheme, with field training of two groups of trainees beginning in autumn 2018. These latest trainees will be the first female archaeologists to be trained as part of the five-year project.
Saving the bridge could one day lead to the site welcoming tourists from around the globe to learn about Iraq’s rich heritage. Alongside the archaeological work, the project will see the creation of a visitor centre at the site, which will hopefully lead to the return of international tourists to the region, who have stayed away during recent conflict. The new visitor centre will explain in both English and Arabic how the bridge has contributed to world history, and tour groups from outside Iraq could begin to visit the site by 2020.
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