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Flood Damage to the Old City of Derna, Libya.pdf (10.79 MB)

Flood Damage to the Old City of Derna, Libya

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posted on 2023-09-28, 20:21 authored by Katharyn HansonKatharyn Hanson, Thomas BenderThomas Bender, William Welsh, Hayden BassettHayden Bassett, Brian Daniels, Madeleine Gunter-Bassett, Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, Abigail Maher, Deniz Cil, Jacob Aronson, Corine Wegener

On 11 September 2023, flooding caused massive damage to the historic core of Derna, Libya.[1] Satellite imagery analysis conducted by the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative at the Smithsonian Institution (SCRI), Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (PennCHC), and Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (CHML) confirmed extensive damage in the Old City of Derna. Remote sensing analysis by CHML also led to identification of additional damaged site. High-resolution satellite imagery analysis confirmed areas of complete destruction in Derna’s Old City.

Comparison of available satellite imagery before and after the Wadi Derna flood indicates that the historic district suffered extensive damage including some areas of complete destruction. In the imagery taken after the flooding, some areas of Derna’s Old City are completely washed away while in other areas significant collapse debris are visible. Images of the Old City of Derna included in this report highlight the extent of the destruction and focus on two examples of the many cultural heritage sites that were damaged in the flood: the Derna Ancient Mosque Complex and the Al Sahaba Mosque Complex with its adjacent Culture House and cemetery.


Visit https://culturalrescue.si.edu/ for information on SCRI, https://www.vmnh.net/research-collections/chml for information on CHML, and https://www.penn.museum/sites/chc/ for information on the PennCHC.

RECOMMENDED CITATION: Hanson, K., Bender, T. J. P., Raynolds, W., Welsh, W., Bassett, H., Daniels, B. I., Gunter-Bassett, M., Fitzgerald, K., Maher, A., Cil, D., Aronson, J., and Wegener, C. (2023). “Rapid Report: Flood Damage to the Old City of Derna, Libya.” Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Penn Cultural Heritage Center; and Virginia Museum of Natural History, Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab. DOI: 10.25573/data.24216483.

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