Open Declaration on Cultural Heritage at Risk in Iraq
March 21, 2010

Open Declaration on Cultural Heritage at Risk in Iraq

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.

Signatories

  • American Association for Research in Baghdad
  • Archaeological Institute of America
  • Archaeological Institute of America - Canada
  • Association of Anatolian Art Historians
  • Belgian Archaeological Expedition to Iraq
  • British School of Archaeology in Iraq
  • Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, Copenhagen
  • College Art Association
  • Conservation of Wall Painting Department, Courtauld Institute of Art
  • German Archaeological Institute/Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Oriental Department/Orient Abteilung
  • Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq, Kokushikan University, Tokyo
  • McDonald Institute, Illicit Antiquities Research Centre, University of Cambridge
  • State Archives of Assyria Project, University of Helsinki
  • Robert McC. Adams, Adjunct Professor, University of California, San Diego
  • Béatrice André-Salvini, Conservateur en chef au Département des Antiquités Orientales, Musée du Louvre
  • Michael Aurbach, President, College Art Association
  • Zainab Bahrani, Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
  • John Baines, University of Oxford
  • Heather D. Baker, START-Projekt, Institut für Orientalistik, University of Vienna
  • Gary Beckman, Professor of Hittite and Mesopotamian Studies, University of Michigan
  • Leigh-Ann Bedal, Pennsylvania State University
  • Lis Brack-Bernsen, Institut für Philosophie, University of Regensburg
  • Walter Bodine, Near Eastern Languages, Yale University
  • Marco Bonechi, Istituto di Studi sulle Civiltà dell'Egeo e del Vicino Oriente, Rome
  • Lis Brack-Bernsen, Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Institut für Philosophie, Universität Regensburg
  • Ray Brassier, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University
  • Klara Brenova, Oriental Institute, Prague
  • Geoffrey Cantor, Professor of the History of Science, University of Leeds
  • Eric G. Carlson, Department of Art History, Purchase College, SUNY
  • Elizabeth Carter, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jorge Silva Castillo, Profesor Investigador, Centro de Estudios de Asia y Africa, El Colegio de México
  • Sharon Cather, Conservation of Wall Painting Department, Courtauld Institue of Art, London
  • Antoine Cavigneaux, Professeur de langues et civilisation mesopotamienne, University of Geneva
  • Soraya de Chadarevian, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Unviersity of Cambridge
  • John T. Chalcraft, Lecturer, Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Edinburgh
  • Petr Charvat, Oriental Institute and Charles University, Prague
  • Nandini Chatterjee, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
  • Meredith Chesson, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
  • Elie-Anne Chevrier, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Cristina Chimisso, Department of Philosophy, Open University
  • Erin Clancey, curator, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
  • John R. Clarke, Professor of Art History, University of Texas at Austin
  • Claus Cluver, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Indiana University
  • Sophie Cluzan, Conservateur, Département des antiquités orientales, Musée du Louvre
  • Gudrun Colbow, University of Ghent
  • Elizabeth J. Cole, Department of History, University of Cambridge
  • R. Crévecoeur, Senior Adviser, Government Institute for the Preservation of Objects of Art and Science, I.C.N., Netherlands
  • Jens Daehner, Antiquities Department, J. Paul Getty Museum
  • Jo Darke, Public Monuments and Sculpture Association
  • Bob Dawe, Archaeologist, Provincial Museum of Alberta
  • Jean-Paul Descoeudres, Professor of Classical Archaeology, Vice Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Geneva
  • Lynn Swartz Dodd, University of Southern California
  • Lucy Donkin, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Fred M. Donner, Professor, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
  • Jennifer Downes, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
  • Renée Dreyfus, Curator of Ancient Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • Christopher Edens, Resident Director, American Institute for Yemeni Studies
  • Christine Ehlers, Department of Archaeology, Boston University
  • Richard S. Ellis, Professor Near Eastern Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College
  • Geoff Emberling, University of Michigan
  • Alison Epting, Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Princeton University
  • Margarete van Ess, Director of the Baghdad Branch, German Archaeological Institute
  • Steven E. Falconer, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University
  • Patricia Fara, Clare College, University of Cambridge
  • Gertrude Farber, Research Associate, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
  • Walter Farber, Professor of Assyriology, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
  • Marian Feldman, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Robert Fernea, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin
  • J. V. Field, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Magnus Fiskesjö, Director, Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm
  • Marina Frasca-Spada, Lecturer, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
  • Steven Garfinkle, History Department, Western Washington University
  • Patty Gerstenblith, Professor, DePaul University College of Law
  • McGuire Gibson, Professor, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago; President, American Association for Research in Baghdad
  • David Nelson Gimbel, Archaeos, New York
  • Gene Gragg, Professor, Oriental Institute, Departments of Linguistics and Near Eastern Languages, University of Chicago
  • Robin Adele Greeley, Department of Art and Art History, University of Connecticut
  • Donald P. Hansen, Craig Hugh Smyth Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
  • Arnulf Hausleiter, Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, Copenhagen
  • Jill Heberden, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Georgina Hermann, Honorary Professor, Institute of Archaeology, University College London
  • Kenneth G. Holum, Professor of History, University of Maryland
  • Sanne Houby-Nielsen, Director, Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm
  • Jens Høyrup, Roskilde University, Denmark
  • Blahoslav Hruska, Oriental Institute and Charles University, Prague
  • Hermann Hunger, Institut für Orientalistik, University of Vienna
  • Askold Ivantchik, Ausonius: Institut de Recherche sur l'Antiquité et le Moyen-Age, Unversité de Bordeaux
  • Anja Skaar Jacobsen, History of Science Department, Aarhus University
  • Arthur Jeffes, graduate in Archaeology, Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Wolfgang Jenniges, Université catholique de Louvain
  • Richard Jennings, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
  • Charles Ellwood Jones, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
  • Elizabeth F. Jones, Executive Director, Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
  • Martha Sharp Joukowsky, Director of the Petra Great Temple Excavations, Brown University
  • Harmke Kamminga, Department of History and Philsophy of Science, University of Cambridge
  • Ole Knudsen, Professor of the History of Science, University of Aarhus
  • Peter Kornicki, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge
  • Stephan E. Kroll, Vorderasiatische Archaeologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich
  • Kenneth Lapatin, Department of Antiquities, J. Paul Getty Museum
  • Curtis E. Larsen, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Mogens Trolle Larsen, Professor Assyriology, Copenhagen University
  • Paul Larsen, independent scholar
  • Edward M. Luby, Acting Director, Museum Studies Program, San Francisco State University
  • Hans Lund, Department of Cultural Sciences, Lund
  • Claire Lyons, Research Associate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
  • Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages, Harvard University
  • Fabio Maniscalco, Professor of "Protection of Cultural Heritages" at the "Facoltà di Studi Arabo-Islamici e del Mediterraneo" University "L'Orientale", Naples (Italy) and Director of "Observatory for the Protection of Cultural Heritages in Areas of Crisis"
  • Joy McCorriston, Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University
  • David W. McCreery, Department of Religious Studies, Willamette University
  • Augusta McMahon, Faculty of Oriental Studies and Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
  • Harry S. Martin III, Henry N. Ess III Librarian and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Ken Matsumoto, Professor, Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq, Kokushikan University; Director, Kokushikan ArchaeologicalExpedition to Kish
  • Léon de Meyer, Director, Belgian Archaeological Expedition to Iraq, Honorary Rector University of Ghent
  • Peter A. Miglus, Institut für Ur-und Frühgeschichte, University of Heidelberg
  • Jane Moon, Deputy Director, Center for the Study of Global Ethics, Birmingham
  • Francesca Morelli, La Cantoria Restoration School
  • William Morin, New York University
  • Sarah P. Morris, Steinmetz Professor of Classical Archaeology and Material Culture, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Christopher Moss, Editor of Publications, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton
  • Wolfram Nagel, formerly Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Köln
  • Karen Nicely, Professor of Medieval Art History, University of British Columbia
  • Hans J. Nissen, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Near Eastern Archaeology, Free University of Berlin
  • Zoe Opacic, Courtauld Institute of Art, London; University of Cambridge
  • Joost van Oss, artist
  • Asli Osyar, Department of History, Bogazici University, Istanbul
  • John K. Papadopoulos, Department of Classics and Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
  • Geri Parlby, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Simo Parpola, Director, State Archives of Assyria Project, University of Helsinki
  • Lukas Pecha, Oriental Institute, Prague, and West Bohemian University, Pilsen
  • Jana Pecirkova, Oriental Institute, Prague and West Bohemian University, Pilsen
  • Constance Piesinger, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Richard Plant, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Jerry Podany, President, Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
  • Jiri Prosecky, Oriental Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
  • Wendy Pullan, Head of the Graduate School, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge
  • Derek Pullen, Head of Sculpture Conservation, Tate Gallery, London
  • Andreas Puth, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Christelle Rabier, Alumna, École Normale Supérieure
  • Selma al-Radi, independent scholar
  • Mieke Van Raemdonck, Curator "Islam and Christian Art from the East," Brussels
  • Paola E. Raffetta, Catedra de Historia de la Civilizacion Meda y Persa, Universidad del Salvador
  • Furat Rahman, West Bohemian University, Pilsen
  • Marcelo Rede, Professor of Ancient History, Federal University, Rio de Janeiro
  • Jan M. F. Van Reeth, Belgian Society of Oriental Studies
  • Colin Renfrew, Disney Professor of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
  • Francis Reynolds, Academic Assistant, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Martha Risser, Classics Department, Trinity College, Hartford
  • Lauren Ristvet, King's College, University of Cambridge
  • Michael Roaf, Institut für Vorderasiatische Archaeologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich
  • Eleanor Robson, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford; Council Member of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq
  • Gary O. Rollefson, Department of Anthropology, Whitman College
  • Lynn E. Roller, Professor of Classics and Art History, University of California at Davis
  • Lucille A. Roussin, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Elena Rova, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità e del Vicino Oriente, Università Ca'Foscari, Venice
  • Douglas Rozell, Archives Association of Ontario
  • Karen S. Rubinson, Archaeological Institute of America
  • John Russell, Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Massachusetts College of Art
  • Agnieszka Sadraei, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Hamid Salem, Institute of Archaeology, Birzeit University
  • Walther Sallaberger, Institut für Assyriologie und Hethitologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich
  • Mirjo Salvini, Director, Institute for the Study of Aegean and Near Eastern Civilizations, National Research Council, Rome
  • Ivo Schneider, Professor of the History of Science, University of the German Armed Forces
  • Christopher J. Scriba, Universität Hamburg
  • James Andrew Secord, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
  • Joe D. Seger, Director, Cobb Institute of Archaeology, Mississippi State University
  • Gebhard J. Selz, Chair, Ancient Semitic Languages and Oriental Archaeology, Orientalisches Institut, University of Vienna
  • Nancy Serwint, School of Art, Arizona State University
  • Payson Sheets, Department of Anthropology, Universtiy of Colorado
  • Ana Simoes, History of Science, University of Lisbon
  • Elizabeth Simpson, Professor, Bard Graduate Center, New York, NY
  • Kathryn E. Slanski, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University
  • Michael E. Smith, Professor of Anthropology, SUNY Albany
  • Jana Souskova, Oriental Section, National Museum, Prague
  • John Steele, University of Toronto
  • Josephine Anne Stein, School of Cultural and Innovation Studies, University of East London
  • Piotr Steinkeller, Professor of Assyriology, Harvard University
  • Franciszek M. Stepniowski, Institute of Archaeology, Warsaw University
  • Christine Stevenson, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Elizabeth C. Stone, Department of Anthropology, SUNY, Stony Brook
  • James F. Strange, Department of Religious Studies, University of South Florida
  • Eva Strommenger, formerly Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Berlin
  • David Stronach, University of California, Berkeley
  • P. A. Terwen, Art Historian and Conservator
  • Ingolf Thuesen, Director, Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, Copenhagen
  • Helga Trenkwalder, Professor of Cuneiform Studies, University of Innsbruck, Head, Austrian Archaeological Expedition to Iraq
  • Kathryn Walker Tubb, Institute of Archaeology, University College London
  • Karin Tybjerg, Finley Research Fellow in Ancient History, Darwin College, University of Cambridge
  • Christoph Uehlinger, Chair, Swiss Society for Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Deparmtnet of Biblical Studies, University of Fribourg
  • Hanna Vorholt, International Max Planck Research School, Max Planck Institute for History, Göttingen
  • Jane C. Waldbaum, President, Archaeological Institute of America
  • Patricia Wattenmaker, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
  • Nili Wasana, Department of Bible Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • Stefan Weber, ICOMOS Germany, Orient-Institut, Beirut
  • Michael Weigl, Professor of Old Testament Studies and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, University of Vienna
  • Lauren W. Weingarden, Art History, Humanities, Museum Studies, Florida State University
  • Manfred Weippert, Professor Emeritus, University of Heidelberg
  • Donald Whitcomb, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
  • T. J. Wilkinson, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
  • Tim Williams, Senior Lecturer, Management of Archaeological Sites, Institute of Archaeology, University College, London
  • Frances Willmoth, University of Cambridge
  • Rita P. Wright, Department of Anthropology, New York University
  • T. Cuyler Young, Jr., Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum
  • Sachi Yanari-Rizzo, Associate Curator of Collections, Fort Wayne Museum of Art
  • Filiz Yenisehirlioglu, Baskent University; President, Association of Anatolian Art Historians
  • Paul Zimansky, Department of Archaeology, Boston University

Site Preservation News

Dig Deeper

Email the AIA
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

Sign Up!