Palmyra Comes to New York

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Image via The Institute for Digital Archaeology

On September 19th, the Oxford-based Institute for Digital Archaeology [IDA] unveiled their scaled down 3D model of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph. Previously shown for the first time in London’s Trafalgar Square, the arch now resides in New York’s City Hall Park. The world turned to Syria after the destruction of Palmyra in October 2015. As one of the most well-known … Read More

The STOP Act: Proposed Legislation to Stop the Export of Native American Cultural Patrimony

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STOP Act Press Conference in Washington D.C., July 6, 2016.

In early July, US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act. Broadly, the STOP Act aims to strengthen previous Native cultural heritage legislation. Most importantly, the Act prohibits the export of any archaeological or ethnographic object that falls under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), … Read More

New U.S. Import Restrictions on Syrian Archaeological and Ethnographic Material

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Funeral temple No 86, Palmyra and in the background on the hill the Fakhr-al-Din al-Maani Castle.

Earlier this month, the United States put import restrictions into effect for Syrian cultural materials. The restrictions apply to any item, archaeological or ethnographic, that was illegally removed from the country on or after March 15, 2011. The law includes a huge range of materials, such as stone, metal, ceramic, painting, drawing, textile, plaster and stucco, mosaic, and paper, among … Read More

Deliberate Civilian Destruction of the Great Wall of China

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Video screenshot

Last week, a video of a man intentionally destroying bricks from the Great Wall of China surfaced on Chinese social media. In the video, the unnamed suspect attempts to perform martial arts moves, resulting in a portion of the wall falling to the ground. He also repeatedly kicks and punches the UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the footage, Dong Yaohui, … 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

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

Operation Hidden Idol

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Wall Carving From Inside the Bhaja Caves, India

No, it isn’t the title of some Indiana Jones fanfic novel, but the name given to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) (DHS/ICE/HSI)* case involving tens of millions of dollars’ worth of rare antiquities allegedly looted from several nations by Subhash Kapoor. Unbeknownst to the Honolulu Museum of Art, their collection included seven of the … 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

Hiker Discovers 3,500 Year Old Seal and Returns it

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Sphinx Seal Impression

Last month, an Israeli hiker exploring the Horns of Hattin in the Lower Galilee chanced upon an oval, beetle-shaped seal that likely surfaced as a result of recent thunderstorms in the area. The area of the discovery is well known as the site of a former fortified citadel dating to the Late Bronze Age. Upon discovery and out of curiosity, the man contacted the Israeli Antiquities Authority, who … Read More