ASOR joins LCCHP and Other Organizations in Warning of Cultural Heritage Emergency in Egypt

ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research) LogoASOR has added its name and support to a statement expressing concern over the potential loss of cultural heritage in Egypt. While human life and well-being are of primary importance, much of Egypt’s cultural identity is rooted in its proud cultural heritage, dating back thousands of years. Reports of museums being looted and artifacts like mummies being destroyed are devastating to Egypt’s irreplaceable cultural heritage.

Here is the statement in its entirety:

The undersigned cultural heritage and archaeological organizations express their concern over the loss of life and injury to humans during the protests in Egypt this week. We support the desire of the Egyptian people to exercise their basic civil rights. We also share their concern about the losses to cultural heritage that Egypt has already sustained and the threat of further such losses over the coming days.

Brave actions taken by the citizens of Cairo and the military largely protected the Cairo Museum. However, the numerous sites, museums and storage areas located outside of Cairo are even more vulnerable. As the prisons are opened and common criminals are allowed to escape, the potential for greater loss is created. A recent report from Egyptologist Professor Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama in Birmingham states that damage has been done to storage areas and tombs in Abusir and Saqqara and that looting is occurring there and in other locations.

We call on the Egyptian authorities to exercise their responsibilities to protect their country’s irreplaceable cultural heritage. At the same time, we call on United States and European law enforcement agencies to be on the alert over the next several months for the possible appearance of looted Egyptian antiquities at their borders.

For a link to ASOR’s Policy on the Preservation and Protection of Cultural Property, click here.

For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, visit www.culturalheritagelaw.org.

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