Photos: Damage to Syrian Ruins Seen from Space

Destruction from Above

Since the onset of Syria's civil war, archaeologists have worried about the destruction of the country's rich cultural heritage. In this image from 2012, many looting holes and a military presence are now visible at Tell Jifar, an unexcavated ancient mound.

Tell Jifar, 2007

(Image credit: Google Earth, Jesse Casana)

Some looting holes at Tell Jifar can be spotted in images from as far back as 2007, before the war started.

Apamea's Lunar Landscape

(Image credit: Google Earth)

Thousands of looting holes are now visible in Google Earth imagery of Apamea, an ancient Roman city in northwest Syria.

Apamea, Before Looting

(Image credit: Google Earth, Jesse Casana)

In stark contrast, this image of Apamea from 2011 shows what the ancient site looked like before it was widely looted.

Tell Qarqur

(Image credit: Google Earth)

Before civil war broke out in Syria, Tell Qarqur was home to an archaeological expedition. Now military tanks sit inside bunkers carved into the ancient mound.


(Image credit: Image courtesy DigitalGlobe Foundation)

This September 2013 image shows the Palmyrene gate and city wall at Dura-Europos, an archaeological site on the Euphrates River. With the war, the scale and scope of looting both inside and outside the city walls has increased.

Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.