Securing & Protecting 3 Archaeological Museums from Looting

  • Investment
  • Year
  • Project coordinator
    Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, NGO Biladi
  • Collaborators
    Gerda Henkel Foundation


Though this project, Blue Shield Lebanon, in collaboration with NGO Biladi and Blue Shield International, will secure and enhance the protection of the collections of three of the national archaeological (site) museums and several dig houses in Lebanon. It concerns the Byblos Site Museum, located in the Byblos Castle, the Archaeological Museum of Tripoli, the Archeological Site Museum of Baalbek, located in the tunnels of the site, and the dig houses of Saida. The museums preserve hundreds of artifacts connected to the respective archaeological sites, dating back to the Roman era. In light of the aggravating economic crisis and continuous political unrest, the museums are considered to be at high risk of targeted looting for illicit trade. Lebanon is notorious for the looting of cultural artefacts, and the illegal excavations at other archeological sites in the country has already started. A recent survey conducted by Blue Shield indicated that all three museums are lacking adequate security measures to protect their collections and have no back-up systems to support measures in case of shortage of power and fuel. Blue Shield Lebanon executed a more detailed risk assessment of every museum and secured the buildings from possible intrusion and looting, ensuring the continuous work of the security systems tailored to the needs on site. Additionally, employees are trained in charge of the museums (DGA) in emergency preparedness and response and will create and train a ‘heritage support system’ comprised of the Lebanese Armed Forces, Civil Defense and Heritage NGOs to support the museums in times of crisis and cultural property protection.