Palmyra Destruction Situation Update

Boston, MA, April 03, 2016 --( DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery released on March 30, 2016 has shown new damage to the Valley of the Tombs, the Western Necropolis, and the Southeast Necropolis of Palmyra. This is the first new satellite imagery of Palmyra since September 2015, which was analyzed in the ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives special report "Update on the Situation in Palmyra" (

In the Valley of Tombs, this includes the Tombs of Elasa, Bene Ba’a, Hairan Belsuri, and No. 65 located in close proximity to the tomb of Iamliku and others that were damaged in August and September of 2015. These tombs have not been completely destroyed. Some standing architecture is still visible especially around the tombs of Elasa and Hairan Belsuri. However, the amount of rubble around the tombs indicates significant damage.

Additionally, some damage was also seen in the Western Necropolis to another tower tomb, No. 22. This tomb was located close to the tombs of Atenaten and Elahbel. Both were destroyed in late August 2015. The March 30, 2016 imagery shows Tomb No. 22 reduced to a pile of rubble.

The DigitalGlobe satellite images show additional looting pits and the destruction of the funerary temple S103 at the Southeast Necropolis, which was previously damaged by illegal excavations.

ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives will provide further information in their forthcoming special report on Palmyra, to be published in the next few days, as well as in Weekly Report 87–88, which covers March 30 - April 12, 2016. For more information, please contact Project Manager, Allison Cuneo at

ASOR's Cultural Heritage Initiatives operates programs to documents and safeguard cultural heritage. A major part of ASOR CHI is a cooperative agreement between ASOR and the U.S. Department of State that is designed to document, protect, and preserve the cultural heritage of war-torn Syria and northern Iraq. We have assembled a team of scholars with professional connections to leading academic and cultural institutions from all over the globe, and our international team has formed alliances and partnerships with groups of concerned citizens in Syria and Iraq who have been taking action.
Allison Cuneo