Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science

Author: "Lord Renfrew, et al."

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Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science

Lord Renfrew, et al.

Statement on Iraqi Antiquities

The extraordinary global significance of the monuments, museums and archaeological sites of Iraq (ancient Mesopotamia) imposes an obligation on all peoples and governments to protect them. In any military conflict that heritage is put at risk, and it appears now to be in grave danger.

Should war take place, we call upon all governments to respect the terms of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and its First Protocol. We urge all governments, institutions and individuals in a position to act to recognize and uphold the validity of Iraq’s existing, strong Antiquities Law. To secure the long-term safety of the archaeological and cultural heritage of Iraq of all historical periods, and to stop the illicit digging and smuggling of antiquities that have occurred during the period of the embargo and that may follow a period of conflict, the staff of the Department of Antiquities must be returned to pre-embargo numbers in academic and technical fields. Most important, the number of guards for individual sites, monuments, and museums must be returned to pre-embargo strength.

As represented by the signatories of this letter, the international scholarly community is prepared, at the conclusion of the present crisis, to support the Iraqi Department of Antiquities in strengthening and retraining its staff, in assessing the conservation needs of artifacts and buildings and in refitting laboratories. If asked, international archaeologists are also willing to play a role in any needed assessment of damage done by illicit digging or warfare, in salvage operations directed by the Department of Antiquities, and in repatriating stolen antiquities.

The signatories of this letter urge all governments to recognize that fragile cultural heritage is inevitably damaged by warfare, that irreparable losses both to local communities and to all humanity are caused by the destruction of cultural sites, monuments, and works of art, and that it is our common duty to take all possible steps to protect them.

Lord Renfrew, Disney professor of archaeology at Cambridge, and colleagues at the university, as well as other archaeologists in the UK, several European institutions, the US and Japan (over 100 scientists in all) joined in signing the statement.

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Worldwide Debate on Iraq

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Chicago: Renfrew, Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science in Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science Original Sources, accessed December 9, 2019, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QQGP6ISLZKT5NZS.

MLA: Renfrew. Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science, in Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science, Original Sources. 9 Dec. 2019. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QQGP6ISLZKT5NZS.

Harvard: Renfrew, Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science. cited in 21 March 2003, Statement on Iraqi Antiquities, Science. Original Sources, retrieved 9 December 2019, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QQGP6ISLZKT5NZS.