The war for the past is fought every day in every country. It is fought for by the people who want to preserve our history and culture and by those who see profits or misguided ideology as the best answer. And every day that the war is fought, there are more casualties. Not necessarily casualties of human lives, but losses of sites and artifacts that can never be replaced. Like every fight, there are victories and losses. Here are a few of the highlights of the battles of the last few weeks.
First of all was a victory by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) against some tomb raiders. This group was found trying to loot a 1st-century burial chamber near the site of Kibbutz Metzer, and the IAA suspects that they may be the same group that has been looting sites in the area for months now. It’s too late for many of the stolen artifacts, but hopefully, with the arrests, no more history will be pawned away.
In another win for our side, some 3500-year-old rock carvings, stolen from a Native American site, were finally recovered. Against the odds, authorities managed to find these amazing discoveries, although no one has of yet been arrested in connection with the original theft.
And last of all, another bit of greed and religious blindness taking precedence over the importance of preserving a country’s history. The Iran Cultural Heritage and Handcraft Organization (ICHHO) is a group that is supposed to be dedicated to protecting Iranian culture. Instead, they do pretty much the opposite.
A construction project was approved by the ICHHO that will have as a casualty the ancient city of Jondi Shapur. The city has before now been ignored due to the fact that it is a pre-Islamic site, and the proposed construction will finish it for good. Dozens of sites have been destroyed for similar reasons under the not-so-watchful eyes of the ICCHO
This week is a bit better than most, although the loss of an entire country’s worth of history and culture may be the result if something doesn’t change in minds of Iranian protection authorities. Hopefully, with education and dedicated, we’ll get to a point where every week has more wins than losses.