How Can Computer Technology Help?

(Qatar University, Qatar)

Keywords: Cultural Heritage, conservation, armed conflicts, UNESCO, Gaza

Cultural heritage is a primary source of the multifaceted history of the past generations. It is under risk in many countries, either due to armed conflicts, environmental conditions, low level of people awareness, low appreciation of cultural sites or due to the density of population. The endangering of the global cultural heritage due to human and environmental reasons has become evident. Scholars concerned with historic cultural heritage seek modern technologies, computer applications and digital databases to become decisive tools in the evaluation of the current structural state of the buildings. In addition, the advance technologies explore the physical problems of the cultural heritage and document its physical status for conservation. Many countries experienced successful computerized documentation and restoration projects over the years.
This paper presents a case study of a computerized and digitized documentation project, which the researcher has conducted for historic buildings within the old city of Gaza. Furthermore, it discusses the major results of archeological excavations and architectural documentation prior to the restoration of the al-‘Umari Grand Mosque, with the involvement of UNESCO. The paper also details the phases of the documentation and highlights the extent of the utilization of the electronic processing of the collected data.  Lastly, it demonstrates how the computerized documentation can identify the major physical problems facing the cultural heritage in order to make technical recommendations to local authorities and relevant institutions.