Arqueólogos preocupados com dispersão da coleção do Museu Nacional de Bagdá

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Importantes arqueólogos manifestam preocupação com a possível dispersão da coleção do Museu Nacional de Bagdá

International archaeologists’ plea to Iraqi government

A group of leading international archaeologists has written to the Iraqi authorities, expressing strong concern over suggestions that the collection of Baghdad’s National Museum might be broken up. The letter is addressed to president Jalal Talabani and top politicians. The initiative follows reports in Baghdad that the government is considering the possibility of “regionalising” the National Museum’s holding. In particular, there is some pressure to send antiquities excavated in the south to Basra or one of the main sites, such as Nasariyah. In their letter, the European and American archaeologists say, “most immediately we ask that the holdings of the Iraq National Museum be kept safeguarded and intact as one collection rather than being subdivided.” Its 15 distinguished signatories include Professor McGuire Gibson (American Academic Research Institute in Iraq), Dr Lamia Algailani (University College, London), Dr Michael Müller-Karpe (Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Mainz) and Professor Jane Waldbaum (President of the Archaeological Institute of America). It is noticeable that curators from a number of major museums with Mesopotamian collections are not signatories. In practice, any immediate movement of archaeological finds would be extremely difficult. Staff at the National Museum have found it impossible to even complete an inventory of the contents of the storerooms since the looting of April 2003. The Baghdad museum remains closed and was recently physically sealed with strong concrete barriers. Professor Gibson told The Art Newspaper that he still fears the museum collection “could be split up, perhaps into three geographical areas”. The signatories also express concern about archaeological sites, asking that “the Antiquities Guards be kept as a force, meaning that they continue to be paid and equipped and their numbers increased.” Looting, which increased after the fall of Saddam Hussein, remains a major threat. Finally, the letter asks that “cultural heritage either be independent or that it be administered by the Ministry of Culture” and “implemented by a professional, unified State Board of Antiquities and Heritage.” It goes further, suggesting that the Antiquities board should be turned into a new ministry or at least connected to the cabinet general secretariat. The letter concludes that “only a strong, national, non-political State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, backed fully by the force of the state, can preserve the heritage that is left.” (cont.)

Fonte: Martin Bailey – The Art Newspaper: 25 October 2006

A carta escrita pelos arqueólogos – Letter to Jalal Talabani et al. -, com data de 23 de setembro de 2006, foi publicada pela lista IraqCrisis, onde está arquivada.

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