The United4Heritage initiative is part of a team creating a digital backup plan for threatened cultural monuments.
In recent years, we’ve seen a shocking number of historic sites around the world—some dating back thousands and thousands of years—destroyed. Sometimes it’s vandalism—think the Temple of Baalshamin, which stood from 131 AD to 2015, until it was destroyed by ISIS after the Syrian Civil War. Sometimes it’s just bad luck, like the 5th-century Buddhist and Hindu temples destroyed in Nepal by last year’s earthquake. Other times, of course, the vandalism comes from developers, as when a Belize construction company in 2013.