Located at the Department of
Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations


Solar-Powered Humidity-Controlled Archival Units for India:

In November 2013, the CCED was asked by the Director of SEERI, Mahatma Gandhi University, to create a digital archive of all Syriac inscriptions across the south-western Indian state of Kerala.

While doing field work there in September 2014, it was noticed that Indian libraries and archives lack humidity control. The effect on manuscripts and archival materials is devastating. The problem lies not only in the lack of technology, but in the energy costs of operating such machinery. A solar-powered, humidity-controlled archival storage unit solves this problem.

In working towards this goal, the CCED is in collaborative partnership with Dr. Adnan Shihab, Erbil Polytechnic University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region-Iraq; and Rev. Dr. Jacob Thekeparambil, St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, India.

A proof-of-principle demonstration has proven the feasibility of building solar-archival units. The international collaborative partnership seeks to design and build fully functioning units featuring humidity and temperature control.

Funding is needed for parts and travel expenses to bring these initial units to India. Your contribution will directly help in preserving endangered world heritage in texts using green energy.

Virtually every archive, library, and museum across the world where humidity control and energy costs are a problem would benefit from these climate-controlled units. Nothing like this has ever been created; these units will revolutionize archival standards in developing nations.

Together we can change the world.

With many thanks,

The Canadian Centre for Epigraphic Documents.

Links to News Coverage and Articles on the Project:

CBC News Clip:

CBC: How solar power could help save world heritage

LiveScience: Disappearing Ancient Texts Could Be Saved by Solar-Powered Device

Hamilton Spectator: World’s Precious Artifacts Quietly Rotting

Handwritten Palm-Leaf Manuscripts, c. 18th - 19th century 
Poetry, Grammar, and Local History. Kappumthala Dayara, Kerala, India.​

Indian Embassy - Meeting (left-right) Fr. Dr. Jacob Thekeparambil, Director of SEERI, Regional and Research Centre for Syriac Language and Literature, Mahatama Gandhi University, Kottayam, India; His Excellency Mr. Vishnu Prakash, High Commissioner of India to Canada;
Colin S. Clarke, Director CCED. August 18, 2015, Ottawa.

Support for the Project:

This innovative international project using small solar powered units to archive and preserve historical documents is an ideal option for many Indigenous cultural centres and museums in need of both a climate controlled environment and a sustainable energy solution. It is a timely project that will have useful applications particularly for the more remote cultural centres that are currently striving to reclaim and preserve Indigenous history and cultural heritage in Canada. 
François Masse, Director General, Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Government of Canada

Your pioneering work will be a boon for all societies   whether developing or developed. I wish you all the best    in your endeavours.
Vishnu Prakash, High Commissioner of India to Canada

I am glad indeed to learn of the work of your centre.
Your technology can be applied in many libraries in India.
K.P. Fabian, Former Ambassador of India to Italy
Permanent Representative to the UN in Rome

As the Director of SEERI, I am very grateful to you for commencing this charitable mission for the preservation of Syriac documents in India.
​Fr. Dr. Jacob Thekeparambil, SEERI, Regional and Research Centre for Syriac Language and Literature, Mahatama Gandhi University, Kottayam, India.