Heritage Crisis in Syria: a call for a moratorium on the antiquities trade

Heather LeeArticle, Commentary, From the field, Homepage3 Comments

The world has been closely following the tumultuous political upheaval behind the devastated state of cultural heritage preservation in Syria. A recent New York Times article describes “a feeling of impotence” that academics and archaeologists are experiencing in the face of the sheer magnitude of the danger threatening the cultural heritage of Syria. What will it take to stop the relentless destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage? It … Read More

Abdulamir Hamdani on the implications of the current fighting for Iraq’s cultural heritage

SAFECORNERFrom the field, Report, Update1 Comment

The following is Dr. Abdulamir al-Hamdani’s presentation on the destruction of Iraq’s heritage made on July 18, 2014 at the Iraqi Cultural Center. The event was also live-tweeted by Dr. Damien Huffer (#ICHpanel) and reported here by Dr. Alex Nagel. SAFE is grateful for this collaboration, allowing us to raise awareness about these critical issues.

Confrontations: A Young Boy’s Temptation

Michael ShamahArticle, Commentary, Confrontations, From the fieldLeave a Comment

SAFE blog’s new series “Confrontations” invites everyone to share firsthand experiences with looting and the illicit antiquities trade. These personal accounts will illustrate the on-going problems of these issues within a global context.  When I was young, before I gained an interest in archaeology and the ancient world, my knowledge of artefacts was merely limited to the Indiana Jones Trilogy. … Read More

Ten years after, Juan Cole takes us to the Iraq Museum

safe-admin10 years after, Article, Commentary, From the fieldLeave a Comment

In observance of the 2013 Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage, the following article originally posted here by Juan Cole, is reposted here with Professor Cole’s permission. Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world … Read More

FROM THE FIELD Knowing Nancy: An Interview with Afghanistan’s Grandmother, Nancy Hatch Dupree

Joanie Meharry and Shaharzad AkbarFrom the field, Interview4 Comments

In a country where news typically conjures images of warlords and Talib fighters, ambassadors and international forces, the 85 year old Nancy Hatch Dupree, has stood as an emblem of the country’s rich and ancient cultural heritage.  A force in her own right, her strength has been cemented in her singular, unwavering commitment to the culture of Afghanistan before, during, … Read More

FROM THE FIELD: Change of Time, An Interview with Abdul Wasay Najimi, Conservation Architect for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Professor at Kabul University

Joanie Meharry and Shaharzad AkbarArticle, From the field, Interview, ReportLeave a Comment

Abdul Wasay Najimi

In the summertime, thousands of visitors flock to Bagh-e Babur, “Babur’s Garden”, an historic park in the heart of Kabul. Presiding over the garden is the entombed 16th-century Emperor Babur the Conqueror, founder of the Moghul Empire in India, for whom the garden is named. In the emperor’s memoir, the Baburnama, he praises the location for its scenery, gardens, orchards, and semi-arid … Read More

FROM THE FIELD: Significant historic and cultural site in Afghanistan restored

Thalia KennedyArticle, From the field, ReportLeave a Comment

Tiled decoration-east iwan (burial chamber) in Gazur Gah

Origins and background The ancient religious site of Gazur Gah is one of the most significant in Afghanistan. It lies near to the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, on an ancient trade route between Central Asia and the West, and marks one of last halting stations before the deserts of Kuhistan. Its recorded history begins around 1000 years ago, … Read More

FROM THE FIELD: Speaking with Omara Khan Massoudi, Director of the National Museum of Afghanistan

Joanie Meharry and Shaharzad AkbarFrom the field, InterviewLeave a Comment

Omara Khan Massoudi is more of a permanent feature at the National Museum of Afghanistan than many of the collections that are housed there. Now the director, he has worked at the Kabul museum for more than three decades: a tumultuous period that bore witness to the Soviet occupation, Mujahideen civil war, and Taliban regime, when irreplaceable collections were relocated … Read More

Field Report: Vietnam – Another Source Country?

Damien HufferCommentary, From the field, Report1 Comment

As followers of the antiquities trade in general will be well aware, the illicit looting, smuggling, and display of artifacts from prehistoric and historic sites truly remain a global problem. Yet, the on-the-ground situation in certain regions, such as Mainland Southeast Asia, remains under-reported. Although UNESCO conventions, better monitoring and conservation, and increased calls for repatriation by Southeast Asian countries … Read More

Firsthand account of looting in southern Iraq

SAFECORNERFrom the field, Report1 Comment

On July 1, 2008 The Art Newspaper reported “Archaeological sites in south Iraq have not been looted, say experts”(See Larry Rothfield’s response here). Video here shows images presented on April 12, 2008, at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Symposium Looting the Cradle of Civilization: The Loss of History in Iraq by Abdulamir Hamdani, Director of Antiquities in Nasiriya Province in … Read More