Cultural Heritage News

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  • 31 Mar 2015 8:55 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Islamic State Destruction Renews Debate Over Repatriation of Antiquities

    Assyrian relics that have stood for 3,000 years smashed and desecrated. Ruins from Babylonian times bombed and bulldozed. Scrolls and shrines ravaged from Somalia to Timbuktu.

    Museum directors, archaeologists, collectors and others with a fierce passion for safeguarding antiquities have been united in their disgust as Islamic militants make a show of ravaging artifacts from the ancient world
  • 30 Mar 2015 10:32 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    United Nations cultural body chief Irina Bokova vows to step up Iraq heritage protection

    BAGHDAD (AFP).- The head of the United Nations cultural body vowed in Baghdad Saturday to step up measures aimed at protecting Iraq's heritage, which has been systematically targeted by jihadist militants.

    UNESCO chief Irina Bokova launched a Japanese-funded initiative to preserve Iraq's museum collections and threatened heritage, as well as a social media campaign under the hashtag #Unite4Heritage.

    "Today our pledge is we will never relent in safeguarding the great cultural heritage and diversity of Iraq," she said, speaking from the recently reopened national museum in Baghdad. 
  • 30 Mar 2015 10:30 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Greece condemns British refusal of mediation by UNESCO on Parthenon sculptures

    ATHENS (AFP).- Greece on Saturday criticised the "negativism" of the British Museum in rejecting mediation by UNESCO to help resolve the decades-old dispute over returning ancient Parthenon sculptures to Athens.

    The sculptures are part of the collection popularly known as the "Elgin Marbles" which were acquired by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s when he was ambassador to the Ottoman court. The British parliament purchased the art treasures in 1816 and gave them to the museum.

    For the past 30 years Athens has been demanding the return of the sculptures which had decorated the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis in Athens from ancient times. 
  • 30 Mar 2015 10:03 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    UNESCO calls for the protection of cultural heritage in Yemen 


    27 March 2015 – The escalation of armed conflict in Yemen threatens the country’s cultural heritage, warned the head of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the world body’s agency responsible for protecting cultural property.

    In a statement, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova urged all parties involved in military operations to preserve the Yemeni cultural heritage. “Experience shows that cultural heritage is never more vulnerable than during times of conflict. It is crucial that all parties refrain from targeting, by shelling or by air strikes, or using for military purposes cultural heritage sites and buildings,” Ms. Bokova called.
  • 30 Mar 2015 7:24 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Interview: Cambodia shares successful story on repatriation of stolen antiquities   2015-03-28 22:47:56

    PHNOM PENH, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia successfully reclaimed five antiques that were looted by the United States during the country's civil war, after effective diplomatic and legal work, a senior government official told Xinhua in a recent interview, in which ways other countries may reclaim stolen artifacts was shared.

    The five ancient statues, which were looted from Cambodia during the time of the country's civil war in the 1970s, had been repatriated from the United States to Cambodia between June 2013 and June 2014.


  • 27 Mar 2015 11:25 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    In Syria, National Museum of Damascus races to save antiquities from looting, damage 

    By: Sammy Ketz 

    DAMASCUS (AFP).- Workers at Syria's National Museum of Damascus carefully wrap statues and place them in boxes to be transported to a safe place, hoping to save the priceless pieces from theft or destruction.

    Since his 2012 appointment as head of antiquities in the midst of Syria's civil war, Maamoun Abdulkarim says just one thing has been on his mind -- avoiding a repeat of the kind of looting that ravaged Iraq's heritage after the 2003 invasion.

    "The images of the looting of the museum in Baghdad and other Iraqi sites are always on my mind, and I told myself that everything must be done to avoid a repeat of that here," he told AFP. 
  • 25 Mar 2015 8:40 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Why Italy should sell the 5,000 antiquities recovered by the police

    Improperly excavated artefacts could be auctioned to help cash-strapped museums
    prosecution (without verdict) of former Getty curator Marian True, and the items that have had to be restituted by museums to Italy because the case against them was embarrassingly secure, have led to a more civilised, ethical policy being adopted by most institutions, which will no longer buy or accept as gifts items that lack a documented provenance dating back before 1970 (the date of the Unesco Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
  • 24 Mar 2015 1:41 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    US-Syria Cultural Heritage Cooperation?



    Syria’s Director-General of Antiquates and Museums, Dr. Maamoun |Abdul-Karim, as well as other officials including the Ministers of Culture, Information and Tourism often speak of their beloved country being “an open-air museum.” Few would challenge their characterization as the global community focuses increasingly on how to stop crimes against culture which are now widely viewed as crimes against the common heritage of humanity.
  • 24 Mar 2015 1:37 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Bill would limit ISIS profits from cultural destruction


    Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have introduced legislation to help prevent destruction to cultural heritage in war zones occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

    The bill would restrict U.S. imports on Syria archaeological material, similar to an international policy established in Iraq. Lawmakers said the proposal would curb the Islamic State's ability to reap profits from  stolen historical artifacts.

  • 23 Mar 2015 9:50 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Digging for treasure: Is 'nighthawking' stealing our past?

    • 21 March 2015

    Heritage groups say one of the countryside's most famous monuments is "under attack" from illegal metal detectorists hunting for buried treasure. But what is "nighthawking" - and is it robbing us of our past?

    "See a penny, pick it up and all that day you'll have good luck" - it's something we've all told ourselves on those harmless occasions we've spotted small change on the ground.
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