Founded in 1879, the AIA was chartered by the United States Congress in 1906, in recognition of its role in the development and passage of the Antiquities Act, which Theodore Roosevelt signed into law that year. Today, the AIA remains committed to preserving the world’s archaeological resources and cultural heritage for the benefit of people in the present and in the future.
The Hill of Tara is one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland. In use since ca. 4000 B.C., at first as a burial ground and religious center, it was also a center of Irish kingship and a key medieval site. It stands in the midst of a larger landscape containing a wealth of related sites and monuments. Now, Tara and the surrounding landscape are threatened by a proposed major highway (the M3) that will cut through the landscape and divorce Tara from the related sites that surround it.
In response to ongoing looting of their archaeological and cultural heritage, the People’s Republic of China has requested a bi-lateral agreement with the United States under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and implemented by the U.S. Cultural Property Implementation Act. The agreement was supported by the AIA and SAFE.
The unprecedented magnitude of the current plague of archaeological site destruction by looters in Iraq is documented in satellite images, aerial photographs taken by Coalition personnel, and in accounts by journalists and antiquities officials working in Iraq.
Despite the efforts of archaeologists and archaeological organizations, the street bond issue passed on November 2. Unless there is further action, the road through Petroglyph National Monument will go ahead. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.
On September 9, 2004, as a response to recent information that controlled detonation of military ordnance near the important ancient and Early Islamic site of Hatra in Iraq will likely result in permanent damage to the site, AIA President Jane C. Waldbaum sent a message to Dr. Joseph Collins, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Col. Frank Romano, Department of Defense, and Mr. William Jeffrey, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy requesting that they take steps to ensure the protection of the site.
On March 4, the Senate passed legislation (S. 671) that gives the President the authority to impose restrictions to prevent the import into the United States of cultural materials that have been illegally removed from Iraq since August 1990. Enactment of this legislation is crucial to prevent cultural materials looted from Iraq’s cultural institutions from entering the United States and to help combat the looting of archaeological sites.
On January 8th, 2004, Jane Waldbaum, AIA President, sent the following letter to officials at US AID and the US Army Corps of Engineers requesting that the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (ISBAH) be consulted and that cultural heritage resource management requirements be established…
The 812th Military Police Company, working with the Iraqi police, have again reclaimed items on the “30 Most Wanted List” of antiquities stolen from the Iraq Museum.
It now appears that no action will take place on H.R. 2009, the “Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act.” A new piece of legislation, S. 671/H.R. 1047, is now in process and contains provisions—although not as strong as H.R. 2009 would have been—for the protection of Iraq’s cultural heritage. The AIA supports this piece of legislation and urges the public to help secure its passage.
On September 20, AIA member John M. Russell (Massachusetts College of Art) will go to Iraq to work with the Coalition Provisional Authority as Deputy Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Culture.
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.