Member Profile: Darius A. Arya, Ph.D., New Media Advocate for Cultural Heritage

All of US/ICOMOS’s members and friends recognize the importance of educating a broad international audience about the significance of cultural heritage and its preservation. Meet one of our members who has devoted his life and career to this: Darius A. Arya, Ph.D., an American archaeologist based in Rome who is pioneering new ways of presenting cultural heritage to the world.A Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, Darius transitioned from excavation to preservation while living and working in the ancient city. Since 2002, Darius has served as Executive Director of the American Institute for Roman Culture, where he has led programs and projects including collaborating with the Italian Ministry of Culture, Rome Museums, Roma Tourism, and ICCROM. Darius has spent years exploring new ways to present the history and archaeology of the ancient world to new audiences in new ways. One of these educational tools is Ancient Rome Live, a multi-platform learning experience that presents original content in video and live-streaming formats to anyone interested in ancient Rome and its empire. Darius also currently hosts “Under Italy” in Italian on Rai5, Italy’s national culture channel, exploring the archaeology of Bologna, Orvieto, Catania, Palermo and other Italian cities.

Americans are most likely to recognize Darius as the archaeological expert and host of numerous documentaries for the Discovery, History, National Geographic and PBS channels. Most recently, Darius guided viewers through three “Ancient Invisible Cities” (Athens, Istanbul and Cairo) on PBS channels in Fall 2018. These entertaining and informative programs introduce a mass audience to current developments in archaeology, including 3D imaging techniques that expose important historical features that lie hidden underground.

In late 2018, Darius was a Guest Scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute, working on “The Role of New Media for Heritage Preservation and Promotion: Successful Storytelling, Best Practices, and Tools for Tangible Results.” Related to this study, Darius has recently begun projects addressing heritage travel, sustainability and the roles that indigenous and local peoples play in preserving sites and presenting them to the wider world. To get an idea of Darius’s work, watch “Ancient Invisible Cities,” tune in to his podcast “Travel: In Situ,” and follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @DariusAryaDigs. 

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