Friday 2 April 2021

Moral Collapse of Syrian Archaeology Under Assad?

Michel Al-Maqdissi 2020, 'Archéologie du Proche-Orient, le naufrage de l’éthique [Archaeology in the Near East, the foundering of ethics]', Revista d'Arquelogia de Ponent 30 (2020), pp 195-201.

This article offers a bleak view of the desperate situation of Syria’s national heritage after from nine years of military conflict. The study describes the negative role of the current archaeological authorities (DGAM), in particular their subordination to the current powers. The study also highlights the changes stemming from the staunch refusal of the DGAM since the end of 2017 to cooperate with qualified Syrian cadres who emigrated at the outset of the crisis which has led to the abandonment of reconstruction projects of ancient Syrian heritage. The DGAM as the sole authority in Syria after ten years of conflict is guiding the “Syrian archaeological question” into an infernal cycle toward a state of shambles and the loss of all its noble values, particularly those of “human archaeology”. Keywords: Syria, archaeology, destruction, propaganda, museums, trafficking
This is really depressing reading. It paints a very black picture indeed. In particular I was struck by the several mentions of apparent philanthropy of the "Nabu Museum" in Lebanon in the context of the following text in this same volume that rather explicitly sets out just what this collection really represents... (I discussed it here too).


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