Ark4 a digital heritage library, started in 2014 by NTNU University library and is exploring new ways to approach culture and heritage and attempts to re-use digital content from the Cultural Heritage sector, mainly deriving from Europeana and other libraries and museums to reach a wider audience through knowledge games. We also aim in creating engagement and educational activities in the immediate academic community, among colleagues and university students in the investigation of approaching the past from different angles.
Our main partner in this phase is Athena the Digital Curation unit and we collaborate with three archaeologists and IT experts.
We use visual material from old archives and create games with questions about endangered sites, Palmyra, Niniveh and Nimrud with the purpose to spread knowledge about past cultures that are now destroyed or even threatened.
Archaeologists have been playing a role in informing on the atrocities committed as a result of war and ethnic or nationalistic turmoil but there is always a demand for an approach that is not only theoretical but it contains actions and proactive protection. Such initiatives have been collaborating with Unesco and Icomos that are commited to protect sites in danger, either that is done through documentation or projects as CYARK500 or New Palmyra or through social media as Archaeology in Syria Facebook group , where professionals archaeologists from USA Europe and middle East participate in letting information about the destructions happening as they happen.
I believe that we as academics, have an obligation to keep these memories alive and not let them slide in oblivion. It is not a secret anymore that antiquities that are stolen from these countries are sold to the western countries and the money goes to finance weapons for the ones actually stealing and destroying those countries and its heritage. In Syria when the war started, there were armed groups that would destroy sites to lift up mosaics from the floors and sell them.
ARK4 is not providing a solution to all that but intends to create engagement and spread knowledge about those sites through educational workshops and gaming tools.
Alexandra Angeletaki is a classical archaeologist and has worked as a lecturer in archeology at NTNU since2001. For the last few years she has been involved in innovative dissemination DH projects and has worked with Museology and Digital Learning at NTNU University Library.
She is also responsible for library seminars and academic writing support for students in Kalvskinnet Campus.