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  • Documenting the Damage: An Interview with Dr. Simone Mühl

    Simone Muhl

    Simone Mühl studied Near Eastern Archaeology, Assyriology and Proto- and Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). After achieving her Master of Arts-degree there in 2007, she started working on her PhD-thesis entitled, “History of Settlement in the central Trans-Tigris area – from the Neolithic to the Late Assyrian period”. In 2011, she received her PhD and started working as Assistant Lecturer at the Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Munich. Presently she is the archaeological director of the Shahrizor Survey Project (Iraq), where she started working in 2009.


    Briefly describe your personal research and outreach background in regards to Iraq?

    I have worked as an archaeologist, investigating the ancient cultures of northern Iraq since approximately 2007. Like many people around the world, the happenings in Iraq create a feeling of helplessness regarding this humanitarian disaster, but also the destruction and harm in the cultural sector. In order to keep track and sort the news reports, initially ...

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  • The best ways to share your projects and ideas with SAFE

    What do you think

    SAFE provides several platforms for raising awareness about our concerns for cultural heritage. We also encourage public engagement.

    SAFECONNECT – The Cultural Heritage Network and our Facebook group were created to enable all those interested in concrete ways to save the past for our future to share their projects and ideas. “What Do You Think?” on this blog offers another open forum.

    We welcome your submissions here as a SAFE environment to introduce new work, and to solicit feedback and comments. No ideas are too big or projects too small. Feel free to share work at levels of completion. Creative thinking is what SAFE aims to encourage and showcase.

    Last month, SAFE interns reviewed Samantha Sutton’s Archaeological Adventures, two books recommended for middle school students. We now want to know what you think of the following project submitted by Apsara Iyer:

    A student at Yale, Iyer has been “researching the formation and persistence of ...

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  • Heritage Crisis in Syria: a call for a moratorium on the antiquities trade

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    The world has been closely following the tumultuous political upheaval behind the devastated state of cultural heritage preservation in Syria. A recent New York Times article describes “a feeling of impotence” that academics and archaeologists are experiencing in the face of the sheer magnitude of the danger threatening the cultural heritage of Syria.

    What will it take to stop the relentless destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage?

    It is tempting to seek comparable remedies that suit other nations in the Middle East, where political unrest has also rendered cultural heritage exceptionally vulnerable.

    In 2008, the United States implemented Import Restrictions Imposed on Archaeological and Ethnological Material of Iraq without proper documentation. This protection (although less robust than what was originally proposed in H.R. 2009/3497) is in place to this day. Since 2011, there have been highly publicized efforts to enact similar regulations for Egyptian antiquities, ...

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  • UK adopts resolution prohibiting the import of antiquities from Syria

    UK-legislation

    SAFE applauds this tangible act from the UK in response to the disorder in Syria and the threats to its heritage.

    The Export Control Syria Sanctions Amendment Order 2014 SI 2014 1896 (the Order) was made on July 16, 2014, laid before the Parliament on July 18, 2014, and came into force on August 8, 2014.

    It “provides for the enforcement of trade sanctions relating to Syrian cultural property specified in Article 11c of Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 as amended (the Regulation) . . . The Regulation prohibits throughout the EU the import, export, transfer, or provision of brokering services for the import, export or transfer, of Syrian cultural property and other goods described in it, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect they have been removed illegally or without the consent of their owner.”

    • Article 11c of Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 (the Regulation) reads:

    It shall be prohibited to import, export, transfer, or provide brokering services related to the import, export or transfer of, Syrian cultural property goods and other goods of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific or religious importance, including those listed in Annex XI, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the goods have been removed from Syria without the consent of their legitimate owner or have been removed in breach of Syrian law or international law, in particular if the goods form an integral part of either the public collections listed in the inventories of the conservation collections of Syrian museums, archives or libraries, or the inventories of Syrian religious institutions.

    • The prohibition in paragraph 1 shall not apply if it is demonstrated that:

    (a) the goods were exported from Syria prior to 9 May 2011; or

    (b) the goods are being safely returned to their legitimate owners in Syria.

    Question: will the US, and other countries, follow suit?

     

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  • Samantha Sutton’s Archaeological Adventures

    Samantha Sutton bookcovers

    I want to thank Jordan Jacobs for sending SAFE his “Samantha Sutton Series.” As a part of my summer internship at SAFE, I was given the first novel of the series to review. Kayla Schweitzer, another SAFE intern, reviewed the second. Reading this book made my summer that much more fun! The two of us were excited to learn about the novels which are great education materials for introducing students to topics that are important to SAFE’s mission.

    Archaeologist Jordan Jacobs brings his real-life knowledge and experience to young-adult fiction, making very realistic adventure novels about the world of archaeology and the damages looting of archaeological sites can cause. His “Samantha Sutton Series,” which includes the books Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies and Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen, is written from the perspective of Sam, an aspiring archaeologist and tells of her adventures at archaeological digs around the world. We can’t wait to see what Jacobs does next – the third book in the series, Samantha Sutton and the Temple of Traitorswill be available in March of 2015.

    If you have read the books, tell us what you think! And if you know of other good reading materials, we appreciate your suggestions!

    Watch our reviews below:

    First, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies reviewed by me, Elizabeth (Lizzy) (View the transcript here)

    “We see that looting not only damages the site but also can destroy an archeologist’s reputation and can reek havoc for the community where looting is happening.”

     

    Second in the series, Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen reviewed by Kayla Schweitzer (View the transcript here)

    “[Jacobs shows] the confrontations between the archaeologists and the so-called amateur archaeologists who are armed with metal detectors.”

     

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