US secretary of state John Kerry will be on-hand later today to highlight the destruction of Iraq and Syria’s cultural heritage by violent extremist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq (IS) and the Syrian regime.
Alongside the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art director Thomas Campbell and its president Emily Rafferty, Kerry will present the US’s case for protection of cultural elements in Iraq and Syria, which are in danger thanks to ongoing attempts by IS to deliberately target and destroy heritage sites in Iraq, while warring Syria’s heritage sites have been the target of deliberate shelling and general chaos in the last couple of years. Read more.
In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now “exhibit significant damage” and some structures have been “reduced to rubble,” according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The AAAS analysis, offering the first comprehensive look at the extent of damage to Syria’s priceless cultural heritage sites, was completed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center (PennCHC) and the Smithsonian Institution, and in cooperation with the Syrian Heritage Task Force. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the analysis provides authoritative confirmation of previous on-the-ground reports of damage to individual sites. Read more.
Archaeological and anthropological groups are concerned about the WA government’s changes to recognition of Aboriginal sites.
The Department of Aboriginal Affairs has moved entries on its Register of Aboriginal Sites, onto a list called ‘other heritage places’.
The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists says anthropologists and traditional owners have not been consulted and there are no legal requirement to protect sites that are not on the register.
The Archaeologists Association’s National President Fiona Hook says there is a lot confusion and the government seems to be trying to help the department’s Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee. Read more.
UN cultural agency UNESCO on Tuesday urged Malian and French forces fighting in Mali to protect ancient cultural sites during air raids and ground attacks.
"I ask all armed forces to make every effort to protect the cultural heritage of the country, which has already been severely damaged," UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said in a statement.
French warplanes have been hitting targets in various parts of the country since Friday in support of Malian forces seeking to dislodge Islamist rebels who last year seized control of its vast desert north.
The rebels have since fled three key cities in the north, including Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage site at a desert crossroads that was an ancient centre of learning. Read more.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has turned down Pakistan’s request for heritage status for its three cities of historical importance, local media reported yesterday.
According to the report, the Unesco rejected the request due to the government’s neglect of these ancient treasures.
In 2010, the government sent 10 entries for Unesco world heritage status. It particularly sought recognition for the 7,000 BC Mehergarh site in southwestern Balochistan, the pre-Harappa 4,000 BC Rehman Dheri in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the 2,600 BC Harappa site in Punjab.
Mehergarh is considered one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology while Harappa has one of the most fascinating and mysterious cultures of the world.
A Unesco official was quoted as saying that Pakistan must have to adopt some measures before its sites can be inducted into the world heritage list.
“Sadly, none of the sites fulfil world standard requirements and its archaeological sites are missing basic public facilities,” the official pointed out. Read more.
The results are in from China’s most recent national heritage census — the first in more than 20 years — and they’re not good.
According to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), around 44,000 of China’s 766,722 registered heritage sites have completely disappeared, while approximately a quarter of those remaining are either “poorly preserved” or “in a state of disrepair.” No sites were specifically mentioned in the census, but the study included ancient ruins, temples and other cultural relics.
According to Liu Xiaohe, deputy director of the survey, economic construction is among the biggest reasons for the destruction. Many of the vanished sites were completely unprotected or ignored by protection units overseeing national and provincial cultural relics, thereby allowing their demolition in favor of construction projects. In addition, some heritage sites were destroyed without explanation. Read more.
Legs crisscrossed in a circle, the little bodies attached wiggling with excitement as artifacts make the rounds.
Erin Willow, an archeologist with Stantec Consulting, passes around a “projectile point”, an arrowhead crafted of chip stone by First Nations people 9,000 years ago.
The artifacts spark conversation among the group of four-ish year-olds at Discovery House Childcare Centre as they celebrated National Aboriginal Day (June 21) with a little dig of their own. The Stantec Consultants were at the centre to help the children learn about local First Nation heritage and how to handle and protect archeological finds. Read more.