Thursday, 13 August 2020

Penn Cultural Heritage Centre to Help Investigate US-bound Antiquities Trafficking

Press release:
Today, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce and Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Dr. Julian Siggers signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a new public-private partnership. Under this partnership, the Department of State and the Penn Cultural Heritage Center will cooperate to combat international cultural property trafficking. The United States is unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to combat the trafficking in cultural property that funds criminal and terrorist networks. This new partnership will facilitate consultations between U.S. law enforcement officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection and experts in archaeology and art history when expertise is needed during the course of investigations. Experts from the faculty and staff of the University of Pennsylvania and other relevant universities, museums, libraries, archives, and nonprofit organizations will also participate.
Note the maintenance of the "trafficking in cultural property that funds criminal and terrorist networks" story and its presentation as a hard fact. One wonders however why a formal agreement is necessary, and whether it means that from now on, expertise in art history and archaeology will (have to) be exclusively drawn from the University of Pennsylvania?


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