Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War

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9780759110984: Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War

As Saddam Hussein's government fell in April 2003, news accounts detailed the pillage of Iraq's National Museum. The museum's looting grabbed headlines worldwide and public attention briefly focused on Iraq's threatened cultural heritage. Less dramatic, though far more devastating, was the subsequent epidemic of looting at thousands of archaeological sites around the country. Illegal digging on a massive scale continues to this day, virtually unchecked, with Iraq's ten thousand officially recognized sites being destroyed at a rate of roughly 10 percent per year.

This book contains the first full published account of the disasters that have befallen Iraq's cultural heritage, and it analyzes why the array of laws and international conventions; the advocacy efforts of cultural heritage organizations; and the military planning and implementation of cultural protection operations all failed, and continue to fail, to prevent massive and irreversible loss. Looking forward, the book identifies new planning procedures, policy mechanisms, and implementation strategies capable of succeeding, so the mistakes of Iraq will not be replicated in other regions in crisis whose cultural heritage are at risk. Both archaeologists and policy-makers will benefit from this detailed study.

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About the Author:

Lawrence Rothfield is faculty director and co-founder of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago. He was previously the director of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities at the University of Chicago and is also a professor of comparative literature, in which field he has three publications.

Review:

Antiquities under Siege goes a very long way in shortening the learning curve for those for whom CPP, by choice or appointment, is a subject that has or is about to become very important in their daily work . . . The true added value of this collection of well-researched and well-presented articles is that it shows the extremely complex nature of cultural property protection, its points of contact with matters cultural, legal, social, societal, economic, etc., and demonstrates how important it is for military organisations and the governments that direct them to take Cultural Property Protection seriously in their planning and in their operations. (Militaire Spectator, December 2009)

With detailed footnotes; appendices providing excerpts from international conventions and doctrines, working meeting recommendations, and technical information; and a substantial index, the volume is an extremely complete and useful reference. . . . The authors' recommendations are sound and based on first-hand experience. (Museum Anthropology, Spring 2010)

Antiquities Under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection After the Iraq War is a thorough account of the events and circumstances surrounding the looting of Iraqu's National Museum in April 2003 following the Iraq War....An objective account. (Katie Urban Muse, May/June 2010)

Recommended. . . . Most levels/libraries. (CHOICE, November 2008)

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