Citations: The Latest from LCCHP is a blog for the voices and stories of the people who make up the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP), a not-for-profit organization that fosters the stewardship of cultural resources through legal advocacy and education. 

The opinions expressed in Citations do not necessarily represent the views of the Lawyers' Committee, its Board of Directors, members, or donors.
  • 29 Sep 2011 8:01 AM | Thomas King (Administrator)
    It would be nice to see someone put on a useful conference about the treatment of deep-water shipwrecks, but I have to be skeptical as to whether Keeping the Lid on Davy Jones' Locker: The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage from Titanic to Today will be it.  I fear it will feature only the usual breast beating about how shipwrecks should be left alone and salvagers are inherently evil --- accompanied by the legal community's pondering on how to accomplish the former and castigate the latter.  
    Here are some facts that are unlikely to be discussed at the session:

    1. Shipwrecks are deteriorating, both from natural causes and particularly as a result of modern methods of fishing, which plow up the bottom as effectively as agricultural land-levelers have torn up the Mississippi Valley.

    2. Academic institutions and museums lack the financial resources to excavate everything that's being destroyed, or even a small percentage of it.

    3. There are commercial salvagers who conduct very high quality archaeological excavations, and who have technological and financial resources that the academic community can’t touch (See, for example, the two recent publications by Odyssey Marine Exploration here and here --- which are substantial archaeological survey and site reports, some of which also document my point #1 above).

    4. The only difference between such “salvage” and the work of academic underwater archaeologists (other than that, in my experience, Odyssey at least does better work) is that a percentage of the recovered material gets sold after it is described and analyzed.

    5. Odyssey at least has rather strict protocols governing what can and can't be sold; what gets sold comprises mostly manufactured items of limited research interest;

    6. We archaeologists used to claim that we were interested in the data from sites, not the goodies.  The violent and near-mindless standard archaeological reaction to responsible shipwreck salvage proves that we've been dissembling all these years, or simply don't understand our own motivations.

    Tom King’s 50-year career includes archaeological research, management of cultural resource consulting organizations, helping establish government historic preservation systems, oversight of U.S. government project review for the federal government’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, service as a litigant and expert witness in heritage-related lawsuits, and extensive work as a consultant and educator on heritage-related topics. He is best known for his work with indigenous groups and local communities, using U.S. historic preservation laws to insist that their cultural places and concerns be considered in planning projects that threaten them. King is also the author of eight books through Left Coast Press and Altamira Press, as well as many journal articles, popular articles, and internet offerings on heritage topics. He publishes a blog at 

  • 12 Sep 2011 2:49 PM | Diane Edelman (Administrator)
    Dear Editors:

    On July 23, Gary Fields and John Emshwiller reported that the federal justice system has expanded the use of federal laws over state law to prosecute certain crimes.  They also suggest that these federal criminal laws employ a lower standard of proof.  The Archaeological Resources Protection Act is cited to support their position, but the reference to ARPA is misleading and inappropriate.

    The Federal government maintains exclusive jurisdiction over federal and Indian lands, and ARPA is a federal statute whose primary purpose is to safeguard archaeological resources on these lands.  States lack authority to enact or enforce laws regulating federal property, so the federal government's supervision of archaeological resources-since 1906-does not represent an intrusion into any state law matter.

    Messrs. Fields and Emshwiller also err by suggesting that ARPA prosecutions do not require proof of criminal intent. They are wrong. ARPA unequivocally requires proof of a person's criminal intent.  To convict an offender of violating ARPA, federal prosecutors must prove that a defendant knowingly committed the prohibited act.

    The authors write that those convicted of violating ARPA "can't argue that they made an innocent mistake." This assertion, too, is wrong. The Tenth Circuit has plainly held that a defendant may raise a mistake of fact defense.

    If the authors are looking for a federal statute to support their criticisms of the federal justice system, they should look somewhere other than ARPA, which alone carries out the salutary purpose of protecting archeological resources on federal lands.


    Diane Penneys Edelman
    President, Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP)
  • 06 Sep 2011 5:18 PM | Anonymous

    DePaul University College of Law and the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation are pleased to announce the third annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition. This competition was created as a means for students to compete through oral and written advocacy in the nuanced field of cultural heritage law. The competition is open to 20 two- and three-member teams from ABA accredited or provisionally accredited law schools.


    This year’s Competition will be held on February 24-25, 2012 (Friday/Saturday), at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago.  Please save these dates if you will be in Chicago and would like to participate as a judge.  Alternatively, if you are interested in brief grading, we anticipate asking those persons serving as brief graders to evaluate several appellate briefs during a three-week period beginning in the middle of January 2012.


    If you are a judge or attorney who might be interested in judging an oral argument round and receiving CLE credit, please send your contact  information to

    For more information please visit:
  • 06 Sep 2011 4:49 PM | Anonymous
    The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) invites proposals from U.S. scholars for feasible research on Iraq-related topics to be conducted outside of Iraq.  Such topics could include environmental studies, research in Ottoman records related to Iraq, social science projects that involve interviews with Iraqis living abroad, remote sensing studies of ancient Iraqi landscapes, or joint projects involving a U.S. scholar and an Iraqi living in the country.  TAARII is a consortium of American universities, museums, and other scholarly institutions dedicated to the furtherance of research in and on Iraq and to fostering mutual understanding and respect between American and Iraqi peoples.  With support of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), TAARII intends to establish a research center and hostel in Baghdad. However, under current circumstances, it operates mainly outside Iraq.  Proposals for TAARII’s U.S. Fellowship program are invited from individual American post-doctoral and advanced pre-doctoral researchers for awards of up to $10,000.  Applications must be received electronically by December 15, 2011.  Awards will be announced in February, for projects that should not begin before March 15, 2011.  Please visit the TAARII website ( and/or contact Beth Kangas, Executive Director ( for more information about the fellowships.
  • 28 Aug 2011 2:40 PM | Anonymous

    The surrealist artist Salvador Dali believed the horn of the rhinoceros to be among the most perfectly constructed objects in nature for its logarithmic spiral that maintains the same curve as it grows. Upon being given one as a gift, he exclaimed, “This horn will save my life!” Dali strived to mimic its pattern in painting, trying to lift the delicate horn from the lumbering form of the rhinoceros itself.

    Beyond Dali, few westerners have appreciated the rhinoceros’ form. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, big game hunters and scientific expeditions counted them among the must-haves from an African safari. Taxidermists then mounted their heads or resurrected whole bodies in museums halls. Some used the horn and hoof to create novelty items like side tables and ashtrays to furnish their homes with proof of their prowess.

    The white rhinoceros shot by Roosevelt is still on view at NMNH. Photo by Chip Clarke, Smithsonian.Overall, the modern era perceived the rhinoceros as unfit for survival. “Like men of the old stone age,” wrote naturalist-hunter Herbert Lang (who shot the white rhino on display at the American Museum of Natural History) in 1920, “with but few implements for defense or attack compared with the multitude of destructive weapons in our times, the rhinoceros seems to lag ages behind in the development of its various senses.” The rhinoceros’ inability to adapt to human technology, Lang wrote, leaves it “hopelessly doomed by modern firearms.” Theodore Roosevelt also considered the rhinoceros a relic: “Indeed the rhinoceros does seem like a survival from the elder world that has vanished; he was in place in the Pliocene, he would not have been out of place in the Miocene, but nowadays he can only exist at all in regions that have lagged behind, while the rest of the world, for good or for evil, has gone forward.” His white rhino prize sits in the Smithsonian’s collections.

    We’ve all likely seen these museum rhinos, my own experience observing museum visitors is that they are props for children’s education. Their histories are often not told in exhibits. But the heritage of hunting and wildlife conservation are implicit in their continued presence in the best of western museums halls.

    A string of post-mortem poaching is now forcing us to consider the role of such rhinoceroses in our cultural heritage. Since May of this year, more than twenty rhino horns and heads have been stolen from museum exhibits in England, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, and France. Another was taken from an auction house in Essex. While at first the idea of thieves making off with monstrous rhinoceros heads may conjure a comical scene, these unexpected robberies are well-organized and increasingly successful.

    The string of robberies has caused concern in the museum community. The Natural Science Collections Association has recommended museums remove rhino horns from public display, and even suggest hiding information about rhinos and rhino horns in collections from public view on websites and collection databases.London’s Natural History Museum has put fake horns in place of real ones. Two other British museums, the Horniman and the Haslemere, have removed all rhino horns from display.

    Valued for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for a variety of ailments, a recent rumor that rhino horn cured a Thai official of cancer has fueled demand and driven the price above that of gold and cocaine. Along with these museum robberies, poaching in Africa has been more frequent this year than in recent memory. At a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) last week, the Standing Committee agreed to treat the illegal trade of rhino horns as a drug war.

    Poaching has been a problem on the African landscape for decades. But why has it now spread to museums?

    Two years ago, the European Commission ruled that rhinoceros trophies, including the horn, could be legally sold and traded. Their intent was not to encourage the trade in rhino horn for medicine, but to create a free market for rhinos as art and artifact. Previous to this ruling, all rhinosundefinedliving and deadundefinedwere protected by endangered species laws. Stuffed and mounted rhinos shared the same protection as their living descendants. Recently, the Commission updated its regulations, working with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to institute a ban on the trade of all rhino horn. Only horns that have been carved before 1947 (primarily referring to antique Chinese rhino horn cups like the ones that set an appraisal record on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow recently) are excluded.

    How are mounted animal heads part of cultural heritage? Displayed in the halls of museums, they represent the nineteenth-century era of trophy hunting. They are visual symbols of colonization. And they are associated, sometimes, with famous figures of exploration or royalty. Even if the horn has not been carved, taxidermy itself is an art form. Thus, when a rhinoceros head is stolen, it robs us of an object of historical and artistic worth.

    What’s more, museum exhibits are increasingly part of local community identities. When robbers sawed the horn off “Rosie,” who had stood stuffed in Essex’s Ipswich Museum for one hundred years, a local official declared: “This is very upsetting and a loss to the whole community as well as to the museum. Rosie is a much-loved ‘character.’”

    This obvious affront to community heritage is accompanied by less obvious ones. The problem of post-mortem poaching is a problem for those regulating trade in art and in animals. It calls attention to the perceived value of animals outside of their natural habitats. Rhinos sit on the cusp of natural and cultural heritage. If rhinoceros lives are significant because they are endangered animals, we must also consider their significance when they are not in the wild or, more poignantly, when they are already dead.

    Kelly Enright is the author of a cultural history of the species, Rhinoceros (Reaktion 2008) and the biography of two adventurous filmmakers that often stared down charging rhinos, Osa and Martin: For the Love of Adventure (Lyons 2011). She holds a PhD in history and a MA in museum anthropology. A recent Animals and Society Institute fellow, she has written more about museums and animals on her blog In Search of the Curious

  • 27 Aug 2011 11:03 AM | Tess Davis (Administrator)
    Like the rest of the country, LCCHP is monitoring the approach of Hurricane Irene, and our thoughts are with all those in its path. The American Association of Museums (AAM) has compiled a list of resources to help its members prepare for the storm and deal with its aftermath. While we hope this reference will ultimately be unnecessary, please assist us in distributing it throughout the heritage community.

  • 23 Aug 2011 9:56 AM | Anonymous
    Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) has been defined under the 2001 UNESCO Convention to mean all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been partially or totally under water for at least 100 years.  While UCH is most often associated with historic shipwrecks of our maritime heritage, it also includes other sites, structures, buildings, artifacts that are historic and prehistoric, including associated human remains.  The objects together with their archaeological and natural context contain stories of our past that inform present and future generations.

    Why should we care about our underwater cultural heritage?  BECAUSE “our discovery” of the past will help us chart our common future.  The World as we know it today - a global economy, an ocean in peril, a mixing pot of culture and change, a technologic engine that drives the human experience - is very much the product of the last few centuries of the collective mastering of the planet’s ocean.  No part of our world has been unaffected.  “Bridging the Sea,” in recent centuries has resulted in: the greatest mass migrations of human populations in the history of humans; a world connected that created global commerce that drove the industrialization that changed the face of human cultures everywhere; a planet’s ocean that has been exploited to fuel the explosion of human populations; and a changing climate causing all of us to ponder an uncertain future. The forces and drivers of change that bridged the sea still drive our world today and perhaps at an ever increasing rate.

    The full consequences of bridging the sea could not in the past be perceived during a time of comparatively small human populations and a world perceived as limitless and inexhaustible. The signs and signals could not be read or extrapolated. Today, however, we are more cognizant than ever of the consequences of “failing to adjust,” as our actions change the world around us. Consequently, re-discovering our past through the lens of our shared maritime heritage can allow us to shed light how we may better navigate these same or similar forces and drivers in the future.

    Celebrating Underwater Cultural Heritage can serve as a focal point for a wide array of constituent groups, institutions, and individuals to learn about their shared heritage, but most importantly how the factors that affected the past need not affect us in the same way today. An opportunity can be created to share cultural values and experiences worldwide, to shed light on how we are all interconnected and share a the challenge of understanding a changing global economy.

    It is this heritage and its importance to our past and future that was a catalyst for the development of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program. On 24 August 2011, the Director of the Maritime Heritage Program, Dr. James P. Delgado, will conduct an illustrated tour of some of the more compelling sites and shipwrecks that have added to or revised our understanding of the past while also providing tangible and relevant links to our heritage for the public. More information on this event is available here. Dr. Delgado will also be the keynote speaker at the upcoming 2011 Annual LCCHP Conference Keeping the Lid on Davy Jones' Locker: The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage from Titanic to Today.

    These and other issues will be explored in subsequent blogs leading up to our conference on 3 November 2011,  Keeping the Lid on Davy Jones' Locker: The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage from Titanic to Today."
  • 15 Aug 2011 11:28 AM | Anonymous

    By Laura Gongaware and Ole Varmer 

    The Smithsonian recently announced its decision to postpone its “Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds” exhibit scheduled to open in the spring of 2012 (  The exhibit, organized by the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Singapore’s National Heritage Board and Tourism Board, features artifacts from the controversial Belitung shipwreck.  The ship is a 9th century Arabian dhow and its artifacts provide some of the first evidence of the maritime component of the well documented “Silk Road” that carried goods from the Far East to the Levantine coast and Europe.  

    Shortly after local fishermen discovered the wreck in 1998 off the coast of Belitung Island in Indonesia, the cargo of Tang Dynasty ceramics, bronze mirrors, silver boxes, and gold dishes fell victim to looting.  Indonesia quickly granted a salvage permit to Seabed Explorations (, a commercial salvage company based out of New Zealand, and in two short field seasons, Seabed raised 63,000 artifacts.  In 2005, Seabed sold those artifacts to a company owned by the government of Singapore for $32 million.  Singapore bought the collection with the intention of building a permanent museum, and, with the help of the Smithsonian’s Freer-Sackler Gallery, Singapore organized a five year traveling exhibit with scheduled stops at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, the Sackler Gallery in the U.S., and several other museums throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.  The exhibit at the ArtScience Museum was scheduled to wrap up at the end of July, but the museum just recently extended its engagement through October.  

    Ethical and Legal Responsibilities

    The Smithsonian’s decision to postpone the exhibit at the Sackler Gallery followed an April 25 meeting held to discuss whether the planned exhibit violated the museum’s professional ethics.  The museum is now exploring ways to transform the exhibit to foster a greater understanding of underwater cultural heritage and the importance of proper archaeological excavation and protection. The Smithsonian has said that the salvage was “fully legal for the relevant jurisdiction” as the laws of Indonesia allow for the salvage and utilization of valuable cargo from sunken ships.  However, Indonesia and Singapore are both parties to the Law of the Sea Convention and under that  Convention all Parties have a duty to protect objects found at sea and to cooperate for that purposeundefinedIndonesia and Singapore’s actions regarding the Belitung wreck may not be consistent with those duties.  Additionally, even though Indonesia and Singapore are not parties to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, its provisions may prevent the exhibition of the collection in States that are Parties to that Convention. The 2001 UNESCO Convention may also impact museums with codes of ethics prohibiting the exhibition of collections that were subject to “commercial exploitation.”  

    A Case of Commercial Exploitation?

    At the very least, the 2001 UNESCO Convention and its Annex Rules apply to all State Parties.  In addition, States like the U.S. and U.K. are complying with the Annex Rules as a matter of policy and practice and that compliance contributes to the Annex being considered the current customary international standard.  Rule Two of the Annex provides that “the commercial exploitation of underwater cultural heritage for trade or speculation or its irretrievable dispersal is fundamentally incompatible with the protection and proper management of underwater cultural heritage. Underwater cultural heritage shall not be traded, sold, bought or bartered as commercial goods.”  As the Belitung wreck was subject to a commercial salvage contract and the artifacts from the wreck were sold as commercial goods, the wreck appears to fall within the definition of “commercial exploitation.” 

    But is the Belitung wreck truly a clear cut case of commercial exploitation?  Southeastern Asia is known for its looting problem.  Several artifacts believed to be from the Belitung wreck site have been found on eBay.  Seabed says these are not artifacts they salvaged but rather artifacts that were looted either before they began their salvage of the wreck or after the first field season when a monsoon interrupted their work.  According to Michael Flecker, the archaeologist employed by Seabed during the second field season, the bottom half of the ewer with the dragon-head stopper was one of the victims of this looting and would have been lost had Seabed not negotiated with local fishermen for its return. However, even if the government of Indonesia was justified in authorizing the recovery of artifacts through commercial salvage services, those services must still be done in a professional archaeological manner.  This includes the conservation and curation of the Belitung collection for the benefit of the public. 

    Even assuming the salvage of the Belitung wreck was "commercial exploitation" under the 2001 UNESCO Convention, what does this mean for museums, like the Smithsonian Institution that are interested in telling the story of that resource?  And is an outright ban best for a collection of artifacts from one of the oldest wrecks discovered in Southeast Asia?

    These and other issues will be explored in subsequent blogs leading up to our conference on November 3  "Keeping the Lid on Davy Jones' Locker: The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage from Titanic to Today" (

    Photo courtesy of Michael Flecker. 

  • 11 Aug 2011 8:56 PM | Emily Casey (Administrator)

    The National Park Service has updated its website "Strategies for Protecting Archaeological Sites on Private Lands" at  This site is a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in protecting archaeological sites on private lands. 

    The site contains "information on strategies that are currently being used throughout the U.S., case studies, keys to success, contact information, and links to other sources of useful information.  Key strategies include -- Land Ownership, Financial Strategies, Development Regulation, Laws Specific to Archeology, Voluntary Strategies, and Site Management."

    The development of this web site was a collaborative effort of two National Park Service Cultural Resource programs (Heritage Preservation Services and Archeology Program), The Archaeological Conservancy, the Society for American Archaeology, the Society for Historical Archaeology, the National
    Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.

  • 11 Aug 2011 3:19 PM | Emily Casey (Administrator)

    Heritage 2012, 3rd International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development, follows the path of the previous editions: it aims at establishing a state of the art event regarding the relationships between forms and kinds of heritage and the framework of sustainable development concepts.

    Environment, economics, society and culture, the four dimensions of sustainable development, are brought here to define a singular approach on how to deal and go beyond the traditional aspects of heritage preservation and safeguarding. On our today’s world, heritage is no longer just a memory or a cultural reference, or even a place or an object. Heritage is moving towards broader and wider scenarios, where it becomes often the driven forces for commerce, business, leisure and politics.

    HERITAGE 2012 is a peer reviewed conference.

    Visit the conference website for full details about the conference scope, topics and submission procedures at:

    Abstract Submissions:

    Topics include:heritage and governance for sustainability; heritage and society; heritage and environment; heritage and economics; heritage and culture; heritage and education for the future; preservation of historic buildings. 

    Submit an abstract via the conference website: or contact the Conference Secretariat:

    Secretariat HERITAGE 2012
    Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development
    Av. Alcaides de Faria, 377 S12
    4750-106 Barcelos, PORTUGAL
    Telephone: + 351 253 815 037


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