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R E D L I S T O F
OBJECTS AT RISK
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Table of contentsPress release
Egypts cultural heritage
The Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects At Risk
ICOMs fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods
International conventions National and international cooperation
ICOMs tools in the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods
One Hundred Missing Objects The Object ID Standard The Red Lists The Art and Cultural Heritage Mediation programme
The International Council of Museums
Press releaseParis, 6 February 2012
One year on from the events that took place in Egypt in 2011, ICOMs actions to protect the countrys cultural heritage from the ensuing thefts of non-inventoried objects from archaeological sites and museums have led to the publication of the Emergency Red List of Egyptian CulturalObjectsatRisk.
ICOM publishes a new Emergency Red List: the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) announces the official launch, at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Cairo (NMEC), on 6 February 2012 at 10 a.m., of a new Emergency Red List: the EmergencyRedListofEgyptianCulturalObjectsatRisk. ICOM Director General, Julien Anfruns, officially presented the Emergency Red List, on this occasion, in the presence of the Director of the NMEC, Dr Mohammed Abdel Fatah. Following the presentation, Julien Anfruns had an official meeting with the Minister of State for Antiquities, Pr Mohammed Ibrahim Ali.
The ICOM Red Lists are important, effective tools designed to help police and customs officials, heritage professionals and art and antiquities dealers identify the types of objects that are most susceptible to illicit trafficking and therefore subject to smuggling and illicit trade. Following this important event, a seminar on illicit traffic and Red Lists will take place on 7 February 2012 at 9 a.m., also at the NMEC.
The EmergencyRedListof EgyptianCulturalObjectsatRisk was made possible thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Department of States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
This ICOM initiative was conducted in cooperation with its International Committee for Egyptology (CIPEG), and with the participation of national and international experts in archaeology and history and the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt. It aims to raise awareness among the local population, law enforcement officials and the international art and antiquities market.
The Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk presents categories of objects spanning from the Predynastic, Pharaonic and Nubian era to Greco-Roman and Coptic Egypt, as well as from the Islamic Period.
The Emergency Red List aims to help art and heritage collectors, professionals and customs and police officials identify Egyptian objects that are protected by national legislation. Museums, auction houses, art dealers and collectors are encouraged not to acquire these objects without having carefully and thoroughly researched their origin and all the relevant national and international legal documentation.
This Emergency Red List will concretely assist all those, inside andoutside of Egypt, concerned by an involvement in the protection ofEgyptianculturalheritage,byfurtherpreventingandreducingthe illicittradeandexportofthecountrysculturalobjects, Julien Anfruns said, when presenting the Egyptian Red List in Cairo.
Due to the great diversity of objects, styles and periods, the EmergencyRedListofEgyptianCulturalObjectsatRisk is far from exhaustive. Any cultural object that could have originated in Egypt should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.
The fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods requires the enhancement of both legal and practical instruments that will disseminate information and raise public awareness. By launching this new Emergency Red List, ICOM is reiterating its firm commitment to the protection of cultural heritage, specifically in post-crisis situations.
Egypts cultural heritage
Egypt is home to an invaluable, world-renowned, diverse cultural heritage that stands as a living testimony to humanitys artistic and scientific evolution. Protecting cultural goods from disappearing is of the greatest importance and is particularly true when faced with the irreparable damage that illicit trafficking in cultural objects can cause.
Vulnerable Egyptian artefacts vary from those relating to daily life to those of a religious or ceremonial nature. They could have been stolen from archaeological sites and, at certain specific times, taken from institutions housing them. The most sought-after artefacts are from the Predynastic, Pharaonic and Nubian era, as well as Graeco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic periods.
Egypt recognises that the illicit excavation of archaeological sites and theft from collections, damages the connection between an object and its context. In turn, this prevents accurate identification and diminishes an objects cultural and historical significance. The resulting gaps impoverish the understanding of the countrys and the worlds history.
Since 1869, Egypt has developed the legal framework for the protection of its cultural heritage and multiplied efforts to counter their illegal trade. The national legal tools have greatly evolved, thus proving the countrys unwavering commitment towards the protection of its history and the importance it bestows on conserving its heritage.
Despite these efforts, Egypts cultural goods remain subject to illicit trafficking. Theft, looting and illegal trade and export are constant threats to the preservation of national heritage. Fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural goods is everyones responsibility in preserving the invaluable witnesses of Egypts and humankinds evolution, history and artistic expression.
With the publication of the EmergencyRedListofEgyptianCulturalObjectsatRisk, and its worldwide distribution to police and customs officers, as well as heritage professionals, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) actively contributes to international efforts in the prevention and the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods.
Emergency Red List of EgyptianCultural Objects at risk
Making of Following the events that took place in Egypt on January 2011, ICOM quickly mobilised its resources in an effort to protect the countrys cultural heritage. In an emergency, obtaining reliable information is of the utmost necessity, but, in certain cases, it also presents one of the greatest challenges. Thefts of non-inventoried objects from archaeological sites and cultural heritage institutions may become widespread in the aftermath of such situations, contributing to the smuggling and the illicit trading in art and antiquities.
ICOM Secretariat, ICOMs Disaster Relief Task Force (DRTF) and ICOMs International Committee for Egyptology (CIPEG), in cooperation with the Ministry of Antiquities, pooled their resources in order to analyse as accurately as possible the situation and risks that both the Egyptian heritage and the countrys museums and sites faced.
Investigative work led to the identification of perpetrated thefts and an assessment of the state of the countrys main archaeological sites. The outcome of these monitoring efforts enabled ICOM to respond to the needs of the international community while conducting an on-site evaluation mission in April 2011.
Following several exchanges with the Egyptian authorities, experts on the countrys heritage and members of CIPEG, ICOM Secretariat decided to launch the publication of a new Red List: the EmergencyRedListofEgyptianCulturalObjectsatRisk.
In order to make the List as pertinent as possible, ICOM and its experts also closely monitored and analysed the underlying trends in the Egyptian objects black market. The choice was then made for vulnerable artefacts included in the List to vary from those pertaining to daily life to those of a religious or ceremonial nature.
This project was developed and coordinated by ICOMs Programmes Department and benefited from the close collaboration of: ICOM CIPEG members, Egypts national museums, and of the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The Red List was made possible thanks to the generous support of the US Department of States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. ICOM is also thankful for Dr. Regine Schulz, Dr. Salima Ikram and Dr. Ossama Abdel Meguids unwavering commitment towards the success of this project. As members of the Editorial Committee they played an essential role in the completion of the Red List.