Funding Protection of Ancient Sites in Iraq
April 15, 2007

At the annual meeting of the American Oriental Society (AOS), a special panel "Where Have all the Tablets Gone" presented the information that a relatively modest outlay of funds--about $5 million--could help protect the more aggressively looted sites in Iraq. Based on this information, a resolution was drafted calling on Congress to fund the protection of such sites. The AIA endorses this resolution:

"Whereas the looting of ancient sites in Iraq continues in our day with little sign of abatement, leading to incalculable loss of historical and cultural knowledge;

And Whereas diverse archaeological and journalistic organizations have already compiled a register of such affected sites;

And Whereas responsible opinion and evaluation, based on established precedence, have suggested that a relatively modest number of guards can discourage if not stop looting at the most distressed archaeological sites in Iraq;

And Whereas the funding of cohorts of guards at Iraqi archaeological sites requires, in present dollars, a relatively modest sum of money;

Therefore, be it Resolved that the American Oriental Society, in meeting assembled at San Antonio, Texas, on March 18th, 2007, calls on and urges the Congress of the United States of America to legislate with dispatch a program to fund the systematic safeguarding of distressed sites until such time as the proper Iraqi authorities are ready to bring such a program under its own control."

This resolution is posted at the AOS website as an online petition.

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