BAREO Belgian Arcaelogical Expeditions to the Orient. Heritage in Federal Collections. Fed. Wet. Beleid
This interdisciplinary research project focusses on the archaeological expeditions to the Near East and Iran undertaken by Belgian
federal institutions in the course of their history. The Royal Museums of Art and History played a leading role in this venture and
have collected over time a wealth of documents and material pertaining to these expeditions. Consisting mainly of excavation
archives, field notes, plans, photographs, archaeological and bioarchaeological material, these documents constitute the raw data
available for these missions. Ensuring their best possible preservation and organisation and optimising their accessibility for
researchers will permit to exploit the full scientific potential of these data. This approach is within the framework of an
international effort to preserve and valorise archives relating to archaeological excavations, to make them more readily available to
the scientific community and to the general public. To this aim, a policy for online publication rnust be developed and BArEO will
contribute to the effort. Furthermore, from an ethical point of view, at a time when such a large part of the national heritage in the
regions concerned is the object of looting or destruction, it is the duty of those who contributed to its discovery to preserve as
much data as possible for future generations.
The objectives of this project are, on the one hand to offer optimal accessibility and valorisation of this heritage through state of the
art digitisation techniques and data management systems, and on the other hand to further exploit these data through selected
research topics. The aims are to provide new insights into collected data through inter-disciplinary exploitation of the available
material, to valorise the national heritage and to offer proposals of good practice in conservation and management policies for this
type of material.
From a methodological point of view, this research combines approaches belonging to four different disciplines: archaeology,
bioarchaeology, historiography and archiving. It focuses very precisely on the objectives of call 3.1 in developing both thematic
case-studies and annotated catalogues related to major Belgian expeditions abroad. It addresses their determinants and background
and considers the potential for addressing contemporary issues. It will re-examine the material collected over the course of the
previous century in the light of new knowledge and new techniques in order to study and publish a number of key-stone
assem b I ages.