ANU photographer Stuart Hay visited Syria a year before the 2011 civil war began.

ANU photographer Stuart Hay visited Syria a year before the 2011 civil war began.

Syria - a history lost

In 2011 a chain of peaceful protests in Syria escalated into an ongoing civil war. The unrelenting violence has led to the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians and millions of Syrian refugees have fled their homes.

What is left behind is a fragmented country that is a shell of its former self.

The year before the violence began, ANU photographer Stuart Hay visited the country to explore its ancient past with Emeritus Professor Graeme Clarke from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.

The five week trip took Hay to an archaeological dig at Jebel Khalid. Hay says this photo is of a Bedouin man called Yehye who was working on the dig.

"He was a young, gentle, quiet man. Where he lived was taken over by the Free Syrian Army. I often wonder what happened to him," Hay says.