New legislation introduced to protect international cultural property

Heather LeeHomepage, News, Report1 Comment

H.R.5703

SAFE applauds the introduction of a new legislation aiming to improve the efficiency of the U.S. federal efforts to protect international cultural property. On November 13, Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Christ Smith (R-NJ) proposed the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 5703) in response to the terrible state of affairs brought by ISIL/ISIS in Syria and … Read More

Looting is everyone’s concern

Marni Walter10 years after, Article, CommentaryLeave a Comment

SAFE is grateful to Marni Walter for sharing this reflection with us in observance of the 2013 Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage. During the early years of the new millennium, the scope of antiquities looting and destruction of cultural heritage seemed to drastically expand. To all the archaeological damage done for profit to feed the demands of various … 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

UNESCO mourns loss of cultural heritage in Bamiyan valley

Mary Elizabeth WilliamsArticle, Commentary, Update3 Comments

Bamiyan Buddhas

The Bamiyan Buddhas will not be rebuilt.  Instead, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has decided instead to transform the site into a sanctuary where the international community can meditate on the losses of cultural heritage and contemplate how to change the pattern of destruction that leaves the world without a past.  They have chosen Andrea Bruno, … 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

Ten years later: The Buddhas of Bamiyan

Mary Elizabeth WilliamsCommentary, UpdateLeave a Comment

In March 2001, more than a decade ago, the Taliban army dynamited, mined and gunned down two 1,400-year-old Buddhist masterpieces. Named “one of humanity’s most notorious cases of art vandalism” by the Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2011), the Taliban leveled the 125-foot-tall Eastern Buddha dating from 544-595 and 181-foot-tall Western Buddha dating from 591-644. The Buddhas, located on the … Read More

Treasure-Hunting in Afghanistan

SAFECORNERReportLeave a Comment

This 2009 photo essay by Adam Ferguson entitled “Treasure-Hunting in Afghanistan” offers a graphic depiction of the world of looting and the illicit antiquities trade, all too familiar not only in Afghanistan, but the world over. The essay accompanies “Afghanistan: A Treasure Trove for Archaeologists” by Aryn Baker. Some quotes from the essay: “The ancient heritage has fallen victim to … Read More

How the Illegal Trade of Afghan Antiquities is Funding Terrorism

Leo McNameeReportLeave a Comment

Spotlight, a weekly presentation of investigative reports from around the world for Link Tv, reported recently on the European art trade. The selling of stolen or smuggled art in Europe has been a problem for as long as the trade has existed. However, the looting of archaeological sites in Afghanistan has now become a major concern. Spotlight reports that the … Read More