July 1, 2019

Dispatches from the AIA – July 2019

Thimlich Ohinga, Kenya
Jodi on Huqoq synagogue wall
Easter Island, Chile

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Celebrate International Archaeology Day on October 19, 2019

This year’s International Archaeology Day (IAD) will take place on October 19, 2019. IAD is a global celebration of archaeology and the thrill of discovery, held annually on the third Saturday of October. This will be the ninth Archaeology Day since the AIA first called on the archaeological community to help share the wonder and importance of archaeology through educational and outreach activities. AIA Societies and collaborating organizations all over the world host events throughout October, making archaeology accessible to as many people as possible.

The inaugural Archaeology Day saw almost 15,000 attendees, and each year the number of collaborating organizations, events, and participants has grown. Last year’s festivities included over 1,000 events attended by more than 200,000 people worldwide. Be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss out. To learn how to participate, please visit archaeologyday.org. While you’re there, be sure to check out the IAD blog to find out more about specific events around the world.

AIA President Jodi Magness elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

We are delighted to announce that AIA President Jodi Magness was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Founded in 1780, the AAAS honors excellence, and counts among its members leaders from across all fields of human endeavor. As outlined in the Academy’s charter, members come together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” Magness was elected to the AAAS in the category of Humanities and Arts—Philosophy and Religious Studies. We offer our most sincere congratulations to Jodi for this well-deserved honor.

AIA Advocacy

An important component of the AIA’s mission is to advocate for the world’s archaeological heritage. Recently, the AIA submitted letters to the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee to support requests made by the Republic of Chile and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for U.S. import restrictions on archaeological materials from these countries. It is the position of the AIA that the archaeological heritage within these nations is at risk, that both countries have demonstrated that they are working to protect this heritage, and that this heritage and the efforts of these nations benefit the international community. To learn more, please visit archaeological.org/news/aianews/32388.

The AIA’s Site Preservation Program counts projects in both Chile and Jordan among its grant recipients. We have made awards to Easter Island and Nama in Chile and to Umm el-Jimal in Jordan. We invite you to learn more about these and other Site Preservation projects at archaeological.org/sitepreservation/projects

Get ready for the AIA Annual Meeting

The 121st Joint Annual Meeting of the AIA and the Society for Classical Studies will take place January 2–5, 2020, in Washington, D.C., at the Marriot Marquis Washington D.C. The annual gathering of more than 2,000 people is an opportunity for scholars, students, archaeology enthusiasts, classicists, and anyone interested in the ancient past to learn about the latest research and findings in the field and the laboratory. The meeting is open to AIA members and nonmembers alike. Meeting registration and hotel reservation details will be posted to the AIA website in late summer. To learn more, please visit archaeological.org/annualmeeting.

AIA Site Preservation Grant News

While work supported by the latest AIA Site Preservation Grant gets underway at the Royal Pyramids of Nuri, Sudan, we have some updates from previous grant recipients.

Thimlich Ohinga, Kenya
In 2011, an AIA Site Preservation Grant was awarded to a community-based archaeological conservation project at the 500-year-old site of Thimlich Ohinga in Kenya, directed by Edward M. Luby of San Francisco State University and Isaya Onjala of the National Museums of Kenya. The site was used in various ways, including both as a fortification and as an urban complex. In June 2018, Thimlich Ohinga was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a ceremony was held at the National Museums of Kenya headquarters in Nairobi to commemorate the inscription. On April 18, 2019, celebrations were held at Thimlich Ohinga to coincide with World Heritage Day, also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites.

Easter Island, Chile
A 2009 AIA Site Preservation Grant supported the Easter Island Statue Project (EISP), directed by UCLA archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg and codirected by Cristián Arévalo Pakarati. Among other project goals, the team focused on conservation of the monolithic sculptures, known as moai, on Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Chile. The EISP and Van Tilburg were featured in a recent segment that aired on the CBS television show 60 Minutes. The presentation highlighted the nature and significance of the statues and also discussed the issues and challenges of preserving the monuments, which are affected by environmental factors such as the sun, wind, and rain. Increased tourism also poses a threat to the statues; more than 120,000 people visited the island in 2018.  

Each year the AIA offers grants and awards to projects that focus on preserving cultural heritage around the world. To date, 33 projects have received funding from the AIA. You can read more about these projects at archaeological.org/sitepreservation/projects. Like all of our programs, the Site Preservation Program is supported by gifts from our generous donors, members, and readers. If you are interested in making a gift to the AIA, please go to archaeological.org/giving. Help preserve the past for the future.

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The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.