Advocacy News

September 30, 2013

Opportunity to Support the Protection of Honduran Cultural Heritage

Ballcourt at Copán.

Thank you to everyone to submitted letters of support for the renewal of the MoU with Honduras!

From October 30 to November 1, 2013, the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) will meet to discuss the possible renewal of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. and the Government of the Republic of Honduras by which the United States would help preserve this country’s rich archaeological heritage through import restrictions on Pre-Columbian cultural materials and artifacts from Honduras. The Government of Honduras has also requested that the MoU be amended to include material representing the Colonial and Republican periods on the list of protected artifacts.

The looting of sites damages archaeological contexts, hampering archaeologists’ study of ancient remains and distorting our reconstruction of the past. Because our understanding of the past is dependent on our ability to recover, study, and interpret ancient sites and artifacts in their original context, the preservation of sites is critical to the creation of archaeological knowledge, as well as to the maintenance of cultural heritage. A commitment to stopping the import of looted cultural material will help to prevent the destruction of the archaeological record.

What is a MoU?

In 1983, Congress passed the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) that enables the United States to enter into agreements, known as Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), with individual countries to further protection of cultural resources. This legislation established the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC), which considers requests for the initiation or renewal of a MoU. An important component of each MoU is a commitment by the United States to restrict the import of undocumented archaeological objects. To learn more about the history of the CPIA and the process by which a MoU is agreed to and renewed, you can download this overview.


More Resources

The AIA has prepared two documents with more information about CPAC and MoUs:

State Department Websites

Learn more about the Site Preservation Program.

Donate to Site Preservation. 

support Us

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.