End trafficking, save culture

End trafficking, save culture


It’s a strange little object, isn’t it? That bell-shaped body, those big wide eyes. Looks like something you might pick up at your local market. Right? But there’s a much bigger story here. This little object is called the Eye Idol, it is 5000 years old and was discovered in Syria. It is an irreplaceable part of the country’s cultural heritage. Sadly, the Eye Idols are only one example of many objects at risk of disappearing completely. While the conflict in the country rages on, the theft of ancient artifacts during illegal excavations becomes easier. And they can be small enough to fit in a piece of hand luggage. Since 2011, 25% of Syria’s archaeological sites have been pillaged. Once stolen, they’re smuggled into neighboring countries. Despite these countries’ best efforts to fight illegal trafficking, stolen artifacts eventually end up on the antiques market. The increased sale of these artifacts online makes it hard to keep track of them. The good news is, you can help stop this! Before purchasing an antique object, keep an eye out for these red flags: Is there dirt on it? Does it seem like a broken fragment of a larger artifact? Is there a reference number painted on its base that looks like it’s from a museum? Does its price seem too good to be true? And most importantly, Can the seller provide you with the object’s provenance paperwork? If you feel suspicious about the object, you should alert the police, Customs, Museums and Culture Ministries, or UNESCO. Syria is home to some of humanity’s oldest and most valuable cultural wonders. The looting of artifacts threatens the country’s rich cultural identity. Help us put an end to this illicit trafficking. For more information on this, please visit this link. And the webpages of Unesco’s main partners, aiding in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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