Cultural Heritage News

  • 21 Oct 2014 12:20 PM | Anonymous

    Jihadists looting ancient archaeological sites, including 244 BCE synagogue; officials warn 5,000 years of history being erased.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185308?utm_content=buffer01893&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.VEaGt_nF8UT

  • 20 Oct 2014 10:20 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Egyptian mummies held by Miami customs due to ivory import ban

    Officials conducted extensive checks on the vessels and jewellery that travelled with the bodies

    Earlier this year, regulations concerning the import of ivory into the US were tightened, meaning that customs agents had to conduct extensive checks on the ancient ivory vessels and jewellery that accompanied the mummies and 250 other artefacts intended for display. While the issue was resolved, the entire cargo remained in customs.

    http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Egyptian-mummies-held-by-Miami-customs-due-to-ivory-import-ban/36016

  • 16 Oct 2014 4:02 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    SIS’s Looting Campaign

    By David Kohn

    For the past eighteen months, the University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Katharyn Hanson has been spending a lot of time analyzing satellite images from Iraq and Syria. As fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) overrun the region, they have been digging up many archaeological sites and looting whatever they find. “You get these sites that look like Swiss cheese, with all the holes,” Hanson said. “It’s just pockmarked.”

    Thousands of vital archaeological sitesundefinedremains from Bronze and Iron Age settlements as well as from Islamic, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizationsundefinedare now at risk. Humans built the first cities in the region, and some spots have been continuously occupied for more than six thousand years. “It’s a cliché, but it’s true. This is the cradle of civilization,” the director of research at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, Brian Daniels, told me.

    http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/isis-looting-campaign-iraq-syria

  • 14 Oct 2014 1:42 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    It’s Not Too Late to Save Syria’s Cultural Heritage

    Inside the restored Omayyad Mosque, Old City of Damascus, SYRIA undefined As Marcus Aurelius instructs us: “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.”

    By definition, our shared global heritage, which has been in the custody of the Syrian people for ten millennia, belongs to all of us and for this reason each of us must work to preserve it for our progeny.

    The people of Syria are petitioning the United Nations, regional powers, archeologists and our wider global community to, reject, as they themselves do, the rationale of ‘ unavoidable war-time collateral damage’ in their conflict which today is severely assaulting archeological treasures in their beloved country. Over the past century, scientific excavations and study of our global heritage in Syria have barely scratched the surface so rich as concentrated are archeological artifacts from a score of empires that have inhabited this land. Syrians, like the international public are horrified and sickened by the continuing and in some areas, accelerating desecration, illegal excavations, looting and hateful destruction of irreplaceable antiquities.

    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/10/13/its-not-too-late-to-save-syrias-cultural-heritage/

  • 10 Oct 2014 1:09 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Should loaned treasures go to Kyiv or Crimea?

    Oct. 9, 2014, 11:09 p.m. | Museums undefined by Iryna Matviyishyn

    Russia’s annexation of Crimea is having all kinds of unexpected consequences, including cultural ones.

    An archaeological museum in Amsterdam is reluctant to return ancient golden exhibits on loan from Crimean museums before the March annexation.

    Hundreds of Scythian and Sarmatian golden adornments and weapons were on display in Bonne and Amsterdam since January and attracted 88,000 visitors. The exhibition closed on Aug. 31, and now the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam is not sure whether the exhibits should be returned to Crimea, Ukraine or neither of them.

    https://www.kyivpost.com/content/kyiv/should-loaned-treasures-go-to-kyiv-or-crimea-367543.html

  • 10 Oct 2014 1:06 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    A Common Heritage At Risk
    By Michael Jansen
     
    Last month more than 80 leading archeologists and scholars issued a public letter calling on the UN Security Council to prohibit trade in Syrian antiquities which are being dug up, stolen from key sites, and sold on the international black market to provide funds for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other extremist groups.

    "Our shared world heritage in Syria is being looted and turned into weapons of war," the letter stated. "Ancient sites dating back to the very earliest moments of human civilisation are being crudely dug up and sold to foreign collectors."

    http://www.aina.org/news/20141010013704.htm

  • 10 Oct 2014 11:14 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Syria’s Neighbors Must Pressure Assad on Preserving Antiquities

    James McAndrew.

    Updated October 9, 2014, 1:17 PM

    I remember helping the Iraqi coalition government wrestle with archaeological site destruction and prolific looting during and after the second Gulf war. The U.S. Customs Service had special agents in Iraq while fighting was ongoing to protect and recover antiquities, as well as collect intelligence on looting and destruction.

    At the same time, I developed a program for the Department of Homeland Security, which sought to investigate, return and recover stolen and looted works of art and antiquity if they crossed over the U.S. border. The program was, and is, extremely successful, with more than 400 specially trained D.H.S. agents to date.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/10/08/protecting-syrias-heritage/syrias-neighbors-must-pressure-assad-on-preserving-antiquities

  • 10 Oct 2014 8:43 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    No Turkish loans for big Seljuk Turk show planned by the Met

    Thorny early discussions with Ankara deterred the US museum but Turkish attitude now appears more conciliatory

    The Met’s problem securing Turkish loans echoes those surrounding the British Museum’s exhibition on the Hajj, which went ahead in London in 2012 without Turkish artefacts after tangled disputes over an inscribed stele with a relief of Herakles, which have yet to be resolved.

    http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/No-Turkish-loans-for-big-Seljuk-Turk-show-planned-by-the-Met-/35727
  • 09 Oct 2014 5:02 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Restrict Imports of Antiquities from Syria to Cut Down on Looting

    Updated October 9, 2014, 11:55 AM

    Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted on stopping the Islamic State's destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage, describing how “shocking and historically shameful it would be if we did nothing while the forces of chaos rob the very cradle of our civilization.” Yet, the American entity currently taking the toughest stance on looted Syrian antiquities is not the government – it’s eBay.     

    In 1947 and again in 1949, Syria declared national ownership over all the antiquities found within its borders and prohibited their export without a government-issued permit. This makes antiquities taken from Syria without a permit at any time since then stolen property. If you try to sell stolen property on eBay, the site will remove the listing and suspend your account. But if you declare the same antiquities to U.S. Customs, you don’t need to worry. American law does not prohibit the import of antiquities, even if looted and smuggled according to the laws of their countries of origin, unless the U.S. has an agreement with the source country – and there is currently no agreement with Syria.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/10/08/protecting-syrias-heritage/restrict-imports-of-antiquities-from-syria-to-cut-down-on-looting

  • 07 Oct 2014 11:47 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Underwater Cultural Heritage As A Potential Environmental Time Bomb

    Posted by Mark Spalding in Ocean Views on October 6, 2014

    In the area known as the Pacific theater of World War II, there are about “3800 underwater wrecksundefinedsubmarines, airplanes, ship, and other remnants of hard fought battles. And, that war produced 7800 such wrecks worldwide from all of the participating nations. Beyond their solemn history (and possible continuing service as watery human gravesites), there are emerging issues that need to be addressed for the health of our ocean today. These World War II shipwrecks account for 75% of the known sporadic or continuous leakages of oil and other hazardous materials from vessels on the seafloor. And, it is said that all of the World War II and other wrecks in the ocean may contain as much as 140 million barrels of oil. As conservationists we want to look proactively at preventing catastrophic oil spills from potentially polluting shipwrecks. We are certain that the risk is growing yearly, as are the potential costs from harm that may result.

    Sixty years later, we are particularly concerned that these wrecks are experiencing metal fatigue, failure and collapse, resulting in leakage of oil, fuel, unexploded ordnance, and toxic chemicals. There are many observed causes for the weakening of these vessels that include corrosion, storm damage, harm from dynamite fishing, damage from anchors and bottom trawling gear, earthquakes, looting (treasure hunting), as well as intrusive exploration of the underwater cultural heritage (by well meaning archeologists). Obviously, numerous sites have experienced more than one of these. In the event of a serious leak from these vessels, we can expect habitat damage at the site, as well as for all the surrounding ecosystems including reefs, beaches, mangroves, and nearshore watersundefinedwhich in turn may harm the plants and animals that live there.

    http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/06/underwater-cultural-heritage-as-a-potential-environmental-time-bomb/

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