Thursday, 25 September 2014

Scholars Call for U.N. to Ban Trade in Syrian Antiquities

More than 80 prominent archaeologists and other scholars from around the world have signed an open letter calling on the United Nations Security Council to ban trade in Syrian antiquities, a market they say is now destroying Syria’s cultural heritage and providing funding for extremist groups. “Our shared world heritage in Syria is being looted and turned into weapons of war,” the letter says. “Ancient sites dating back to the very earliest moments of human civilization are being crudely dug up and sold to foreign collectors.”[...]  In a speech at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “ancient treasures in Iraq and in Syria have now become the casualties of continuing warfare and looting.” “And no one group has done more to put our shared cultural heritage in the gun sights,” Mr. Kerry said, than the militant group known as the Islamic State, which now controls parts of Syria and Iraq. The open letter regarding Syria, which has been torn by more than three years of civil war, is an effort led by Amr Al-Azm, an assistant professor of Middle East history at Shawnee State University in southern Ohio.
Source: Randy Kennedy, 'Scholars Call for U.N. to Ban Trade in Syrian Antiquities', Art Beat September 25, 2014.

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