Category Archives: antiquities

UNESCO Urges Protection of Libyan Heritage

On August 25, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, urged Libyans and art dealers and collectors around the world to protect Libyan heritage during this period of upheaval. But will these statements have any impact in the absence of real enforcement through international organizations like UNESCO or Interpol?

Bokova’s statement:

“The heritage of a nation is essential to the ability of its citizens to preserve their identity and self-esteem, to profit from their diversity and their history and build themselves a better future,” the Director-General said.” With this timeless truth in mind, I call on the people of Libya, on neighbouring countries and all those involved in the international art and antiquities trade to do all they can to protect Libya’s invaluable cultural heritage. I immediately contacted those countries and underscored the importance of the fight against the illicit trafficking and illegal export of cultural property.”

“Experience shows that there is a serious danger of destruction during times of social upheaval. It has taught us to look out for looting by unscrupulous individuals, that often damages the integrity of artifacts and of archaeological sites. Careless dealers who buy these objects and fragments are in fact inciting more looting. It is therefore crucial that the international antiquities market be particularly wary of objects from Libya in the present circumstances.”


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Yale returns artifacts to Peru

The agreement reached between Yale University and the government of Peru may long serve as a model for cultural property negotiations. After eight years of legal disputes, the two sides reached an agreement last November 23 that provides for the return of some 5,000 artifacts that will be housed in a newly established research center, co-managed by Yale and the Universidad Nacional de San Antionio Abad del Cusco.  The International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture will house the artifacts excavated from Macchu Picchu in the early 190os by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham.  See the text of the Nov. 23 agreement here.

More than 350 objects returned to Peru on Wednesday, March 30.  According to Yale Daily News, Peruvian president Alan Garcia was “profoundly satisfied” to see the return of the once disputed artifacts.

The next shipment of objects is scheduled for December 2011. (accessed April 28, 2011)


Filed under antiquities