In a joint US-UK initiative financed by the SmartWater Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of the international crime-fighting company, SmartWater, a team of undercover operatives and trained Syrian Archaeologists have successfully applied SmartWater’s unique ‘traceable liquid’ to some of Syria’s most treasured historical artifacts, including two precious mosaics from the UNESCO World Heritage designated site of the Dead Cities. All are threatened with theft by terrorists and criminal gangs.
SmartWater uses an extremely robust form of ‘nanotechnology’ to encrypt data, with water being the application medium. With millions, and potentially billions, of datasets available, the applications are only limited by the imagination of the End User.
The theft and sale of stolen artefacts from Syria and Iraq is reported to provide millions of pounds a year towards the financing of terrorism. Determining the origin of stolen artefacts on the international market is extremely difficult. It is believed that artefacts are sold at auction and subsequently passed through a network of antique shops and local markets, utilising forged documents, before reaching an international chain of collectors.
Prof Amr Al-Azm, who oversaw this ground-breaking initiative, is a renowned archaeologist and an executive of ‘The Day After Project’, which operates a Syrian-based heritage protection initiative. He said “Syria’s cultural heritage is a vital part of our identity; it is what makes a Syrian a Syrian. Yet this heritage is under daily assault from looting and destruction by thieves and terrorists. SmartWater forensics is safeguarding Syria’s future by helping us prove the origin of these stolen and trafficked objects which is a major milestone in our efforts to preserve Syria’s history.”