The primary US mechanism for regulating the trade in illegally excavated antiquities is a series of agreements with other countries that specify what can be imported and how the two countries are going to co-operate to promote the preservation of cultural patrimony.
On Nov. 13th, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which helps draft and review such agreements, is meeting in Washington, D.C. to consider the Memorandum of Understanding with Italy.
The full-text of the agreement can be found here
The call for the meeting is here:
http://culturalheritage.state.gov/whatsnew.html. Follow the link at
the top right for more specifics.
The announcement of the meeting includes the following:
"With respect to comments on the interim review of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Italy Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy, concluded on
January 19, 2001, and extended in 2006, oral comments must be limited to Article II of this MOU."
Article II concerns actions that both the US and Italy are supposed to take to implement the MoU. I am writing now to encourage readers either to write a letter to CPAC commenting on Italy's actions under Article II.
Letters that address specific actions by Italy that fall under Article II and which benefit or affect the writer are the most useful. But the bar is low, so to speak. If you excavate in Italy, have conducted research there, have seen Italian material on loan to American museums, or have used such material in your teaching, that counts.
Discussion of loans is particularly important. Museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Getty Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Princteton University Art Museum, the Morgan Library in NYC, the Meadow Museum at Southern Methodist University and others have Italian material on loan. If you have seen these objects and enjoyed them, please write.
Letters do not need to be long. Without meaning to provide too much unnecessary advice: the opening sentence should say you're writing about the Memorandum of Understanding between the US and the Republic of Italy. Give a brief introduction (I am a teacher/professor/student/archaeologist/member of the public), and then a few examples of personal impact. End with a call for continued co-operation between the two countries.
DEADLINES: letters need to be received on Nov. 2. They can be faxed to (202) 632–6300 or sent to
Cultural Heritage Center,
SA–5, Fifth Floor,
Department of State, Washington,
Every letter counts so please write if you can.