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

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

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

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

World’s Oldest Temple to Be Restored

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Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe, a site located in Turkey, has received funding to restore the oldest temple ever discovered. The pillars and carved stones are estimated to be 12,000 years old, which predates the projected date of agriculture and the invention of ceramics. With the new funding, the site will be able to build protective coverings for exposed structures as well as … Read More

Illegally Looted Roman and Etruscan Antiquities Found in Geneva

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Pompeii House

Italy’s Carabinieri art crime investigation unit recently discovered forty-five crates containing Etruscan and Roman antiquities in Geneva, Switzerland. Experts speculate that these pieces were left in Switzerland for fifteen years by Robin Symes, a dealer who has served time for contempt of court. When artifacts are improperly removed from their source, cultural and historical context is lost. Pompeii, an archaeological site famous … Read More

Syrian Refugees Build Miniatures of Endangered and Destroyed Landmarks

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Palmyra

Syrian Refugees at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan have been building miniatures of Syria’s ruined and endangered monuments. The project began when Ahmad Hariri brought a group of artists together in order to teach children within the camp about their heritage. The miniatures are made of recycled materials from the area. One project by Mahmoud Hariri, who was an … Read More

Employees Face Fines for King Tut’s Restoration

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King Tuthankhamun

Eight employees from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt face heavy fines for reckless destruction of King Tutankamun. It was found that they violated many of the scientific and professional standards for restoration, specifically improperly gluing of the mask’s beard. King Tut is one the most oldest artifacts dating to 3,300 years. Click here to read the full story. Photo: King Tuthankamen’s burial … Read More