Destruction of Cultural Heritage-Archaeological Sites; FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- Headlines often emphasize important new discoveries in archaeology and too often we hear of looting and illegal, wanton destruction of archaeological sites. Hardly ever do the media note the massive destruction of our archaeological heritage by legally constituted governments. I'd venture to say that most of the destruction in countries of the ANE is done by or has been condoned, passively and actively, by governments (with no exceptions). Much was made recently of the destruction of an irreplaceable collection of mss in Cairo. All right-thinking people must be saddened at such a terrible loss, but how many of us are aware of the destruction of archaeological deposits; each unique, for purposes of "development", without complete excavation, documentation and publication? Is the destruction of an entire archaeological site any less destructive than (perish the thought) would be a fire that reduced the Louvre, or the Met or any other great institution
housing objets d'art?
The link below is an example of what has taken place in China. It is not a unique phenomenon, nor is it inevitable. It is saddening and is the best argument for salvage and rescue archaeology to be done on a far greater scale than has been heretofore. I do not believe there are any quantitative data for any of the ANE countries, but were there, they would be shocking.
With BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR
Eliot Braun, Ph D
Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096
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