The project Stunde Null (“zero hour”) is the first joint project, which was created in 2016 by the members of the Archaeological Heritage Network with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. Its aim is to establish capacities and basic conditions in conflict/war-affected countries once the crisis is over. The “Zero Hour” project has a modular structure and combines various measures related to education and training in the field of cultural preservation and the protection of cultural heritage thanks to the wide-ranging support for preparatory measures for reconstruction. The international meeting of UNESCO experts “Emergency Safeguarding of Syria’s Cultural Heritage”, which took place from 2nd to 4th June 2016 at the German Federal Foreign Office has shown that the implementation of capacity-building measures is particularly urgent.
From this point of view the “Zero Hour” project intends to pool expertise and to coordinate measures, i.e. to create basic conditions that can contribute to informed decisions in the field of cultural preservation and in doing so also incorporate other countries into concrete cultural-preservation projects. Therefore the project focuses on the following issues: provision of digital information related to cultural preservation and to preparatory measures for reconstruction, assistance to Syrian PhD students and experts with regard to their reconstruction projects in their country of origin, education of young academics in the region, humanitarian aid thanks to the education and training of, for example, craftsmen, and awareness-raising in the field of culture and the protection of cultural property. The measures take place both in Germany and in the region, especially in Syria’s neighbouring countries.