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Heritage at High Tide: Archaeology and Climate Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean – A Deep Dive into Cyprus’ and Greece’s Imperiled Treasures

April 6 - April 7

a panel discussion organized by Professor Ioanna Kakoulli
(Acting Director, UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture)

April 6-7, 2024
8:30 to 11:30 a.m PST
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. EET (Cyprus/Greece)
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. CET (Central Europe) 

via Zoom
RSVP here: https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMpcuGppzgtG9MXuDP_KRmVSgGN_KqFrSMP#/registration

The Eastern Mediterranean, a cradle of ancient civilizations, stands at the precipice of an unprecedented challenge. Coastal areas, including the island of Cyprus and Greece, like other regions in the Mediterranean are witnessing the relentless advance of the sea due to climate change. Rising sea levels, heightened temperatures, extreme weather events, and marine erosion are endangering archaeological sites, Byzantine relics, and other critical historic landmarks. With climate data projecting a rise of 90cm in sea level by 2100 in the Mediterranean, the risk to our global heritage is immediate and undeniable.


Demetrios Athanasoulis, Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades, Greece

Nikolas Bakirtzis, Cyprus Institute, Cyprus

Alessandra Bonazza, University of Bologna, Italy

Rohit Jigyasu, ICCROM, Rome, Italy

Anthi Kaldeli, Department of Antiquities, Cyprus

Athanasios Vafeidis, Kiel University, Germany

Nikolaos Zacharias, University of Peloponnese, Greece

Purpose of the Panel:

This panel aims to address/initiate discussion on two critical aspects:

  1. Highlighting the Threat: An in-depth look at how rising sea levels, temperature extremes, and other climate phenomena threaten cultural landmarks, particularly in low-lying coastal zones of Cyprus and Greece.
  2. Bridging the Awareness Gap: A pressing need to use climate data in decision-making for the cultural heritage sector and enhancing awareness on the imminent risks.

The emphasis is on the panel as a starting point or a catalyst rather than a conclusion. It’s about bringing the right people together, introducing the critical topics, and fostering a shared understanding that can serve as a springboard for future action.

Goals of the Panel:

  1. To provide a focused dialogue on the threat of climate change to cultural heritage.
  2. To share recent climate and archaeological data, enhancing understanding of the risks.
  3. To discuss practical strategies and foster consensus on mitigating these threats.

Expected Outcomes:

  1. Increased knowledge sharing between climate experts and cultural heritage specialists.
  2. Strengthened networking opportunities for future collaboration.
  3. A consensus on the need for urgent action and the best practices for heritage protection.
  4. A foundation laid for a comprehensive plan to be further developed in future conferences or workshops.


This event is being held under the auspices of the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Cyprus, the Embassy of Greece in the United States, the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in the United States, the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles and the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus in Los Angeles. This program is co-sponsored by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and the Global Antiquity institute at UCLA and is made possible thanks to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).




UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
Global Antiquity
Stavros Niarchos Foundation