Archaeology Odyssey 5:3, May/June 2002

The Forum

Readers take issue with just about everything—except for our ideas about protecting archaeological sites

Archaeology Odyssey

A Teenage Call to Arms

We 16 students at Sacred Heart Preparatory School have just finished a fall semester honors project, in which we produced a booklet on the problem of archaeological looting. As your editorial points out (Hershel Shanks, “Protecting Archaeological Sites,” AO 05:01), national and international laws that are supposed to curtail illegal trade in antiquities don’t work because they are inadequately enforced, if enforced at all. Poor countries cannot afford to police every site; and even where the security apparatus exists, those who should be guarding the store are all too often doing the stealing.

Our seminar concluded: “We must raise the level of awareness about what a dire situation this is. The best way to do this is through publicity—every object that is looted, every theft that takes place or is thwarted, every object that is repatriated … And finally, we must provide better education about the seriousness of the problem and create a core of concerned and dedicated individuals for whom cultural heritage is more valuable than any art collection.”

We wholeheartedly support your call for a professional conference on the issue of protecting archaeological sites.

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