Inspirational Past: college student’s appeal for cultural heritage protection
I do not have many memories from my childhood. But if I fumble through the deepest and the most distant recollections, one particular memory surfaces amidst the haze. I remember—vividly and intensely—standing in front of the colossal statue of a winged human-headed bull at the British Museum. How can I ever forget the initial encounter with this beautiful beast? Its proud chest. Its majestic wings. Its strong hooves. What I felt then was a sense of awe and the sublime, even though I only had a heart of a twelve-year-old.Colossal statue of a winged human-headed bullCredit: Peter Radunzel
As a college student of art history now, I appreciate the foresight my parents had to take me to the greatest museums around the world when I was young. The monumental sculptures from Assyria, Egypt, and Babylonia at ...(MORE ...)
SAFE featured in “Al-Miraat”
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.
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.(MORE ...)
Documenting the Damage: An Interview with Dr. Simone Mühl
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 ...(MORE ...)
The best ways to share your projects and ideas with SAFE
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 ...(MORE ...)
Heritage Crisis in Syria: a call for a moratorium on the antiquities trade
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, ...(MORE ...)