Cultural Heritage News

  • 09 Apr 2015 1:48 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Destroying the memory of a people: ISIS’ Cultural Genocide on Religious Minorities

    Posted by Emma Noradounkian

    The Mosul Public Library and Museum, home to statues and artefacts dating back to the ancient Assyrian and Akkadian empires; the ancient capitals of the Assyrian empire, Nineveh and Khorsabad; the ancient Assyrian cities of Nimrud and Hatra; and most recently, the ancient Christian Mar Benham monastery and the Yazidi minaret in Sinjar. These sites and buildings, which have stood for the essence of entire minorities in the Middle East for centuries, have been laid to waste by the jihadist group ISIS and now merely exist in words.

  • 09 Apr 2015 1:46 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)


    Elgin Marbles: UK declines mediation over Parthenon sculptures

    • 8 April 2015

    The British Museum and UK government have turned down an offer of mediation from the UN's cultural organisation in the Elgin Marbles dispute with Greece.

    Campaigners for the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece have voiced disappointment at the replies sent from London to Unesco last month.
  • 09 Apr 2015 8:50 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Fugitive US treasure hunter Thompson pleads guilty 

    April 8, 2015 

    A US treasure hunter - who spent years evading authorities - will go to prison rather than testify about gold he discovered in a historic shipwreck.

    Tommy Thompson was arrested on a criminal contempt warrant for evading a civil case brought by his investors.

    They accuse him of cheating them out of promised proceeds from one of the biggest shipwreck hauls in US history.
  • 07 Apr 2015 8:46 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Ratification by Algeria of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (Paris, 2 November 2001)

    On 26 February 2015, Algeria deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

    The instrument of ratification was accompanied by a Note Verbale containing the following declaration:

    « Déclaration de la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire concernant les Articles 9.2 et 28 de la Convention sur la protection du patrimoine culturel subaquatique du 2 novembre 2001 :

    Se référant à l’Article 9.2 de la Convention, la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire déclare que conformément au paragraphe 1.(b) de cet Article, la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire, Etat Partie à la Convention, désigne le Commandement des Forces Navales Algériennes (Ministère de la Défense Nationale), seul destinataire de l’information concernant la découverte ou une intervention sur le patrimoine culturel subaquatique situé dans la Zone Economique Exclusive (ZEE) ou sur le plateau continental d’un autre Etat Partie.

    Le Commandement des Forces Navales Algériennes (Ministère de la Défense Nationale) est chargé de transmettre la déclaration à tous les Etats Parties.

    Se référant à l’Article 28 de la Convention, la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire déclare que les Règles de la Convention, s’appliquent à ses eaux continentales qui ne présentent pas un caractère maritime »
    [original : French]

    In accordance with the terms of its Article 27, the aforementioned Convention will enter into force with respect to Algeria three months after the date of the deposit of this instrument, that is to say on 26 May 2015. 

  • 07 Apr 2015 7:30 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Isis video confirms destruction at Unesco world heritage site in Hatra

    Seven-minute Islamic State film shows militants destroying artefacts with sledgehammers and assault rifles at 2,000-year-old site in northern Iraq     

    Islamic State militants used sledgehammers and assault rifles to destroy ancient artefacts at a Unesco world heritage site in Iraq and vowed to continue their rampage against the country’s millennia-old history, according to a new video released by the group.

    Iraq’s tourism and antiquities ministry said in March that Isis had bulldozed the ancient fortress city of Hatra, one of a string of attacks targeting heritage, religious and cultural sites in Nineveh, which fell under the group’s sway in a lightning conquest last summer in which it took control of the city of Mosul.
  • 07 Apr 2015 7:22 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Syria Says 15,000 Antiquities At Risk in Idlib
      Posted 2015-04-04 04:10 GMT .
    DAMASCUS -- Around 15,000 antiquities locked away in safes around the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib are at risk of being sold on the black market, the head of antiquities and museums Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters on Friday.

    The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and other insurgents took the provincial capital on Saturday for the first time in the four-year conflict against President Bashar al-Assad.
  • 07 Apr 2015 7:17 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Use Force to Stop ISIS' Destruction of Art and History
    By Hugh Eakin

    The question has confronted Western governments with stark urgency in the weeks since the Islamic State released a video of militants smashing ancient sculptures at the Mosul Museum. In early March, following reports that extremists attacked the ancient Assyrian sites of Nimrud and Hatra, Iraqi officials pleaded for American airstrikes to stop them. But so far the United States and its allies have wrung their hands.

    Secretary of State John Kerry described the devastation as "one of the most outrageous assaults on our shared heritage that perhaps any of us have seen in a lifetime." Irina Bokova, the director general of Unesco, said: "This is not just a cultural tragedy. It's also a security issue, with terrorists using the destruction of heritage as a weapon of war." The United Nations Security Council condemned the "targeted destruction of religious sites and objects" by the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
  • 02 Apr 2015 2:22 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    UNESCO Chief Calls On Syrians To Safeguard Cultural Heritage In Bosra And Idlib  

    In the context of the recent escalation of hostilities in Bosra and Idlib, the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova reiterates her call for the protection of Syria's unique heritage. 

    "All Syrians must unite for the protection of their shared cultural heritage." said the Director-General Thursday. "This heritage belongs to all Syrians and to all humanity. I call on all parties to refrain from using cultural heritage sites for military purposes and to protect them against any possibly damage and destruction resulting from fighting. At this time, I call on all parties to commit to the safeguarding of the World Heritage of Bosra, as well as the Idlib, Maarrat al Numaan and Bosra Museums," she said in a statement.
  • 02 Apr 2015 2:19 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Protecting Cultural Heritage Requires Global Response, Says INTERPOL Chief

    INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock has highlighted the need for a concerted international effort to prevent the illicit trade in cultural heritage by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State.

    Attending a high-level meeting convened by UNESCO regarding implementation of a recent United Nations Security Council resolution on the safeguarding of Iraqi and Syrian cultural items, Secretary General Stock underlined INTERPOL’s ongoing role in centralizing information on stolen cultural heritage and assisting member countries in identifying, locating and repatriating trafficked items.
  • 02 Apr 2015 11:58 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Brooklyn Art Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Ancient Artifacts for $500K     

    By James Fanelli | April 2, 2015 7:36am         

    GREENPOINT — A Brooklyn art dealer acted like a villain from an Indiana Jones movie by selling nearly $500,000 worth of ancient religious artifacts that had been plundered from Nepali and Indian temples, Manhattan prosecutors say.

    Nayef Homsi is expected to be arrested in the near future for selling three sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities — despite knowing the artifacts were stolen, according to civil court papers filed by Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

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