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ERIC Number: EJ805418
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul-4
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Antiquity Belongs to the World
Cuno, James
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n43 pB6 Jul 2008
Increasingly over the 20th century, nations, many of them newly formed as the result of the dissolution of empires, instituted those kinds of cultural-property laws and signed bilateral treaties and international conventions as means of strengthening them. Still the looting of archaeological sites continues. Iraq is but one example. Wherever poverty, social alienation, and political chaos exist (often as a result of warfare, civil strife, or simply a failed state), lawless behavior flourishes. When those factors exist in a country with archaeological sites and artifacts, illegal trafficking in antiquities occurs. Laws intended to retain antiquities within the jurisdiction of the modern nation-state concentrate the risk to antiquities by keeping them in one place. In this article, the author argues that nationalist cultural-property laws are political instruments. The political motives that inform them can also, as in the case of the Peru-Yale dispute, inspire calls for the repatriation of ancient artifacts removed before the laws came into being. The promise of research and teaching, scholarly exchanges, joint excavations, and collaborations on museum building hang in the balance. The imposition of nationalist, retentionist cultural-property laws has resulted only in putting their ancient heritage at risk and encouraging its misuse for political gain.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iraq; Peru