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  • SAFE featured in “Al-Miraat”

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    The Nov. 2014 inaugural issue of “Al-Miraat” (“The Mirror”) features a translation of “Heritage Crisis in Syria: a call for a moratorium on the antiquities trade” by SAFE summer intern Heather Lee. A senior at Amherst College, Heather has contributed a number of thought-provoking posts on this blog around the issues of SAFE’s concern, the prevention of looting and illegal trafficking and the development of international laws and policies regarding these issues. Read Heather’s other posts here.

    heather-lee-syria-magazine Click to download the article

    Published in Syria, “Al-Miraat” is an independent monthly “political, economical, social, cultural” magazine, issued by the “North & South for Strategic Studies” in Aleppo. According to Mohammed Mousa, its chief editor Dr. Ali Hafez is a journalist, writer and director of documentary films. Formerly a lecturer at the college of Rostov in Russia, Dr. Hafez is in Aleppo now and is “concerned about the destruction of the buildings and the monuments in old Aleppo.” Dr. Ali is interested in “any project that aims to protect the Syrian cultural heritage.” This is their Facebook page and web site (still under construction.)

    When SAFE was approached about having the post translated, we were told that “this article is important to let our people know more about this problem.” With this gesture, SAFE is grateful for the opportunity to let the Syrian people know that we do care, deeply, about the state of their heritage, our heritage.

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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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