Exclusive SAFE Interview: Erin Thompson

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Photo credit: Kate Edwards

Photo credit: Kate Edwards Erin Thompson, Assistant Professor of Art Crime, Department of Art and Music, John Jay College of Criminal Justice 1. Please describe your professional and educational background for our readers. I double-majored in art history and philosophy as an undergraduate (how’s that for practicality?), and immediately went into a PhD program in art history. Along the way, … Read More

The Proposed Bears Ears National Monument

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Prehistoric Granary overlooks Cedar Mesa. Photographer: Josh Ewing. Photo courtesy of the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition.

On October 15, 2015, the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition submitted a proposal for the designation of a new United States national monument to be called Bears Ears. The 1.9 million acre area of land holds over 100,000 archaeologically and culturally significant sites. Bears Ears’ sheer size, breadth of sites, and lack of protection for those sites, make it one of … Read More

Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative & The Launch of the Conflict Culture Research Network

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Image_CCRN Launch

On June 23, 2016, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative hosted “An evening of discussion about cultural heritage and human rights” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The event featured comments by Karima Bennoune (United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Human Rights Council) and a screening of The Destruction of … Read More

Welcome to the SAFE Team!

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You may have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet around the SAFE Blog recently…but that’s only because some new and exciting changes have been brewing, and we’re excited to finally share them with you! Saving Antiquities for Everyone, Inc. is proud to announce the appointment of three new leaders at the organization. Starting June 2016, SAFE’s STAFF will be … Read More

Asia Week Raids Cast a Spotlight on Antiquities Trafficking in India

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India_Relief

Art auctions can be a source of nail-biting excitement with high prices breaking the record books. Yet, during the 2016 Asia Week in New York City, the headlines were dominated not by shockingly high sales, but by federal seizures of illegally trafficked Asian antiquities worth a combined estimate of $4 million. The seized artifacts were recovered as part of the … Read More

Heritage At Risk: A Tool for Understanding the Real Threat to Syria’s Cultural Heritage

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SYRIA heritage at risk

Background: Five years of civil war in Syria has taken a serious toll on the country. More than 250,000 people have died as a result of the conflict according to the UN, and millions have fled the county in search of better lives abroad. Once thriving cities are now decimated, and Syria’s rich cultural history is under constant threat. Since … Read More

Cultural Property Laws: Why They Fail and How They Can Be Improved

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Workers unload 2nd c .AD Roman sarcophagus

The destruction and looting of cultural heritage sites and antiquities is a pervasive problem in Iraq and, more recently, Syria, as both areas are plagued by wider political conflicts. Despite international cultural property legislation established to prohibit the destruction or theft of cultural heritage (including the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed … Read More

The Power of One, and Community in Protecting Cultural Heritage

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Three figurines from Anatolia, Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany

The looting of archaeological artifacts is an issue that affects us all, across the globe, with ramifications which go beyond an academic, institutional need for understanding our cultural heritage. They touch upon issues of local identity, community, and historical reconstruction, both for understanding the past, but also for considering our future. Likewise, the protection of cultural heritage, not only in … Read More

In Memoriam: Ashrawy and Mustafa Ali

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Egyptian Guards

On February 19, a gang of armed men entered the archaeological site of Dayr al-Barsha with an objective to loot antiquities. The site is well known for its rock-cut tombs dating back to the Middle Kingdom (2040 BC – 1600 BC), many of which were excavated in the early 20th century. The perpetrators were foiled in their attempt to enter … Read More

Market Impact: Increasing Consumer Demand for Legal Provenance

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ceramic antiquities

The illegal antiquities market is extremely difficult to quantify. The nature of the smuggling networks and a code of silence between buyers and sellers make it next to impossible to confirm solid numbers for analysis. One of the few places for which hard data is available is the antiquities auction market. In 2015, researchers from the University of Chicago analyzed … Read More