Thursday, 29 September 2011

Issue: Preserving Archaeological Heritage in War Stricken Countries

I found this story when I was looking through some news articles related to archaeology. This particular story piqued my interest because it shows how hard it is to always put archaeology, history, and heritage ahead of everything. This case is obviously an extreme of putting other things above the ethic responsibility to preserve culture and heritage, but it does open up one’s eyes to the real issues.
The article to which I am referring is from the BBC New Magazine, titled “Murder, mayhem and museums” by Caroline Wyatt (see link below for full article). In this article, Wyatt addresses the issue of preserving Iraq’s archaeological history in the midst of its war. I would assume that this is a particularly difficult thing to accomplish in a country that has been war stricken for years, and it is remarkable to see that people are still making the effort.
Wyatt also mentions that the British Museum is currently holding and displaying many of Iraq’s ancient treasures since Iraq is not yet prepared for tourists. I thought that this was an excellent example of UNESCO’s and ICOMOS’s guidelines: that, essentially, all people (and thus all countries) have the moral obligation to protect cultural heritage, regardless if it is your own or not.
All countries and cultures have the right to have their heritage protected, and there is no exception for those countries that are war stricken. 

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