Who Owns Antiquity? Museums, Repatriation, and Armed Conflict

Who Owns Antiquity? Museums, Repatriation, and Armed Conflict

[MUSIC] Stanford University.>>Welcome to the ninth Lorenz Eitner lecture in Classical Art and Culture. A lecture series that has been
created to promote and publicize and disseminate classical scholarship,
especially for a wider audience. So if you’re not a paid up classicist,
you’re especially welcome, and we’re glad you’re here. The series has been made possible
over the years by Pete and Lindsey Joost, who are great friends and loyal supporters of our classics program,
they are both here today.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[LAUGH] Once again, many thanks for making all this possible. The series is named in
honor of Lorenz Eitner, who was a distinguished art
historian here on campus. He ran what is now the Cantor Center,
from the 1960s til the end of the 80s. Helped turn a museum into
a leading regional art collection. He was very distinguished, he wrote about
a dozen books on art and art history. He also chaired what was then
the Department of Art and Architecture. And given his interests, it’s very fitting
that our speaker today is the world famous archaeologist Brian Rose, who comes
here from the University of Pennsylvania. And who will be introduced by
the latest addition to our faculty, Professor Justin Leidwanger,
in his capacity as a fellow archaeologist, and in a former life,
a student of Professor Rose.>>Thank you Walter,
it’s a great honor and pleasure to introduce our guest today,
our Eitner lecturer, Brian Rose. A graduate of Haverford College and
Columbia University, Brian comes to us from
the University of Pennsylvania. Where he is the James B Pritchard
Professor of Archaeology, the Deputy Director and Chief Curator
at the storied Penn Museum, and curator in charge of its
Mediterranean section. No fedoras, but he wears many hats, always
engaged in a busy program of field work. In recent years he directed the Granicus
River Valley Survey Project, and serves as co-director for the longstanding Gordian
Excavation Project, both in Turkey. No doubt, he is best known though for
his work at the fabled site of Troy. Where he has headed post-Bronze Age
excavations for more than 20 years. Brian’s intellectual interests are broad,
chronologically, geographically, and thematically. So too is the archeological, iconographic, and literary evidence he weaves together
to shed light on historical problems. Whether it’s the rise of new
Greco-Persian burial customs, the reappropriation of foreigner
imagery in Augustan Rome. Or that burning question asked
more often than can be answered, was there a Trojan War? It is always imperative in these
situations to draw attention to one’s published contributions, and indeed,
Brian’s range equally broadly. Most recently new and
forthcoming volumes on Gordian and Troy, including the much anticipated Monograph,
The Archeology of Greek and Roman Troy. Which apparently is actually more broadly
ranging from the Neolithic to Gallipoli, again, quite broad. Coming very soon next month,
I understand, to a bookstore near you. His generosity, not only as a colleague,
but as a mentor and teacher, is rightly famous. I am fortunate to count myself
among that lucky group of students. I don’t think I’ve heard him say
no to a request for his time and energy, if possible,
within the constraints of space and time. Nor is that guidance limited to such
mundane details as dissertations and exams. Rather, it embraces such practical
issues as how to navigate Turkish village customs, and
how to avoid Italian tear gas. Which I’m not sure I actually remember,
I don’t remember which direction to go. But I know if you’re tear
gassed in downtown Rome, I know it’s not in the low lying confined
space of the Largo Argentina, though.>>Thank you.>>To the Tiber,
flee to the Tiber [LAUGH]. With such talents and energy, Brian’s
accomplishments and accolades are many. Fellowships from the American Academy in
Rome, the Alexander Von Humble Foundation, the Monks Plonk Society,
the National Endowment for the Humanities. The American Council of Learning
Societies, the American Academy in Berlin, the Crest Foundation,
the American Research Institute in Turkey, the Center for Lennox Studies,
and on, and on, and on. No one will be surprised, then, that his service extends to many
of these institutions as well. Formerly President of the Archeological
Institute of America, now a trustee. On the Board of Directors of the American
Research Institute in Turkey, and for a decade as Vice President. Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, and various other leadership service at
the American Council of Learned Societies, the Council of American Overseas
Research Centers, and others. As president and face of the Archeological
Institute of America for five years, Brian championed the AIA’s mission
to excavate, educate, and advocate. His remarkable zeal and seemingly
boundless energies evidenced themselves in efforts to engage the public as
stewards of cultural heritage. You could catch him on TV,
answering questions about Homer’s Troy and Shclemon’s Troy,
in the wake of Hollywood’s Troy. I draw attention to one accomplishment
that will be of particular relevance for his topic tonight. His own archaeological tours of duty
across military bases in the US, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Here he initiated a program to educate
troops about local heritage and advocate with those
military powers that be. Whose decisions have direct and
traumatic implications for objects and sites during war time. Quite an accomplishment for
a pacifist graduate of a Quaker college.>>[LAUGH]
>>It is this embracing of a critical but often over looked responsibility
of archaeologist that forms a persistent theme. The challenge to leave behind
one’s intellectual comfort zone, to communicate beyond
the walls of academia. And to engage directly and respectfully
to the public, that should and often does care about its own stake in the
material record of our collective past. His manner of making the past relevant to
the present, not in some tangential or abstract way, but in an immediate and intensely meaningful
way, will be obvious in the next hour. So please join me in welcoming to
Stanford our Eitner lecturer, Brian Rose.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you, all of you in the Stanford Community, for making me
feel so welcome during the last two days. The subject on which I’m
gonna speak tonight, I’m gonna speak on a series of subjects
involving museums, repatriation, and the protection of cultural
property in conflict zones. And this talk is very much
an auto-biographical one, because during the last ten years I
don’t know that there’s been a time that I haven’t been dealing with
museum issues, repatriation issues. And especially issues of the protection
of cultural property in Iraq and Afghanistan, although
other countries as well. This is really a talk that divides into
two parts, one involving museums and repatriation, and is very much connected
to my role at the Penn Museum as curator. The other involves Iraq and
Afghanistan, and issues of cultural
heritage protection there. But I’ll try to bring them both
together within the same sphere, dealing with cultural property protection. People, of course, have been excavating
antiquity and showcasing it for a very long time. One of the interesting discoveries I made
at Troy was that in the early Hellenistic period, builders who were transforming
the city of Troy, or Ilium, as it was known during the Greek and
Roman period. Apparently found Bronze Age artifacts, which they then put in
the Temple of Athena. Which you see reconstructed on the left,
and showcased it as a treasury
linked to the Trojan War. So, in other words, these objects of Bronze Age date that they
excavated were turned into Homeric relics. That were part of
the marketing campaign for Troy to sell itself as
the location of the Trojan War. And, of course, throughout history, throughout the medieval period and
the Renaissance, we hear of great monuments of antiquity
that were found and showcased. One monument from the 16th century
that I show you, on the right, staying with the Trojan theme, the. Probably of early imperial date that was
found in the early 16th century, and of course showcased in the Papal palace,
and at the same time as you well know, the Marble Plan of Rome was found,
something that Stanford has done so much to clarify. But the first extensive excavations and
the first showcasing of objects that were found on a major
scale, on a really grand scale, took place in the eighteenth century,
specifically in Pompeii and Herculaneum during the reign of Charles the seventh,
the king of Naples and Sicily. He realized that his back yard,
which was Pompeii and Herculaneum, could yield statues of
the sort that you see on the lower left. One of the bronzes from the villa
of the papyri at Herculaneum, which he could then use to decorate
his villas and his palaces, such as the one at Caserta
near Naples on lower right. There was a series, or a system, of aristocratic competition in
operation during this period. The same kind of system of aristocratic
competition that you would have seen in Ancient Rome with the conquering generals
who were coming back from their campaigns of conquest in Greece and Asia Minor and
North Africa, South Italy and Sicily. Bringing back and
showcasing as many antiquities or as many great works of art as they
could possibly find and transport. And so with the kings and queens of Europe, you find the same
sort of system in operation. Who could find the greatest number
of pieces of the greatest periods of antiquity and showcase them as a unit,
thereby showing that they were the culmination of all of these
great epics of earlier history. And during this period, we get the great
public museums being established shortly after the beginning of excavations
in Pompey and Herculaneum. So I’ve only put down a few of
those founded in the second half of the 18th century. The British Museum,
the Vatican, the Hermitage, the Louvre, there are plenty of others. And of course this wouldn’t
happen until another century in America with the founding of
the Metropolitan Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston of 1870. But with these museums, which were
intended to be encyclopedic museums, they needed a great number of antiquities
in order to fill the new galleries. That meant they needed either
to excavate new sites, or to find material on the art market. And so began a whole series of excavations
intended to fill those galleries and again to showcase the greatest
epics of earlier history. One of the issues that came
into play shortly thereafter were the wars of liberation
in the 19th century and changes in the boundaries that had been in
place for a considerable period of time. So in the course of the 19th century, Italy becomes unified during the campaign
of Garibaldi, whom you see in upper left. And, of course, Greece is liberated
from the Ottoman Empire as of the 1830s. And one of the byproducts of these
wars of liberation in many cases were the formulation of
new antiquities laws. So this is not so surprising. With wars of liberation and
an increase in nationalism there is a new outlook on the cultural
property in those countries, and new laws associated
with cultural property. So the Greek antiquities
laws began in the 1830s, those in Italy will not begin until 1902. But still in Italy it was not easy
to export from archaeological sites as much material as had been
possible at an earlier time. But it was relatively easy to
export what you found in Turkey or what was at that time the Ottoman Empire. And so we get a number of great
excavations beginning in Turkey in the second half of the 19th century. This is when Heinrich Schliemann, whom you
see in upper right, goes to Troy to begin a series of campaigns of excavations
stretching between 1870 and 1890. It’s also the time in which
the excavations of Pergamon begin. And you’re seeing a fairly
recent aerial view of Troy in the lower part of the image. When Heinrich Schliemann
began excavating here, he was hoping to find evidence for
the Trojan War to prove that this site was the site where the location where
the Trojan War had actually occurred. And in the course of his excavation he
found in the early Bronze age levels, the mid 3rd Millennium BC site,
a hoard of gold, silver, bronze, lapis lazuli, rock crystal,
iron, carnelian, a whole host of materials that he grouped together
under the rubric the Treasure of Priam. And he claimed that this was his proof,
the proof that he had been searching for, that the site in which he was
digging was Homer’s Troy. In fact, we now know that it was
a thousand years too early for period that would have involved with potentially,
have involved conflict between Missoni, and Greeks and the Hittites, or
residents of what is modern day Turkey. But nevertheless it made
Heimlich Schliemann overnight. It made the site of Troy famous overnight,
and it made his wife Sophia Schlemon famous overnight as you see he drapes
some of the jewelry from the treasure of Priam on the head and shoulders of his
wife, the diadem, the earrings, necklace. And you see it on the left,
on Sophia Schliemann, and on the right as it would look now if you
were to go to the museum and view it. And there were a number of
other objects that he found, quite a number of other objects, as you
see in the lower part of this image. What we call a sauce boat, pins with
these peritectic jugs on the top, globular vessels, a lapis lazuli axe, the sort of treasure that was not so
atypical in the middle of the third millennium BC,
but nevertheless one of great importance. And it certainly showed the extent to
which Troy was part of a network of far-reaching trade routes already by
the middle of the third millennium BC. That treasure was stolen by
Schliemann by the Ottoman Empire. So, at the time in which he found it, he did not tell the authorities
of the Ottoman Empire. He smuggled it out of the country and ultimately to Germany, where he gave
it as a gift to the German people. And it was housed in the museum for
a pre and proto history, the museum for [FOREIGN] for a very long time and disappeared mysteriously at
the end of world war two. At the time in which soviet soldiers
sacked the city at the end of the war. You see Soviets marching through
Berlin in the upper slide and the ruling Reichstag in the background. And many of us thought that that treasure
had been melted down, which was a fate that befell so many ancient treasures in
the course of war then as well as now. But it showed up miraculously in
the basement of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow in 1991. So, 46 years after it had disappeared. You see in the lower image, I’ve taken
you to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Here is the diadem that
Sophia Schliemann had been wearing, one of the sauceboats, globular vessels. And Madam Irina Antonova, the director
of the Pushka Museum in Moscow. She was director of the museum at the time
in which the treasure was brought there by Soviet soldiers who had orders
to take it from Berlin in 1945, and bring it back to Moscow. And she’s still director
of the Pushkin museum, even as we sit here she is director of
the Pushkin museum, which tells you something about occupational
longevity in the former Soviet Union. But when the treasure’s
whereabouts were made known, in the context of Perestroika, Glasnost,
the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, she did exactly what one would
have wanted her to have done. She had the treasure conserved, she put
it on exhibit, it was published anew. A great deal of attention was
lavished on Troy at that point, also on our excavations. The Discovery Channel did not
knock on our door every day, but they did in the early 90s as a consequence
of this treasure having been reintroduced to the scholarly world. This wasn’t the only
treasure that had been rooted from Troy and
from the surrounding area, that of the northeast
Jian in earlier times. In 1966 there was a gold
assemblage of jewelry, of seemingly early bronze age date,
middle of the third millennium BC, so let’s say 2500, 2400 BC. That came on the art market and you see
some of the components of that treasure on the screen consisting of earrings,
the pin, diadem, pendants, necklace. Very similar to the Treasure of
Priam that Schliemann had found and removed from Troy. When this came on the market in 1966,
the Penn Museum, which is my institution and
which you see on lower left, made a decision to acquire it for
the price of $10,00. The [LAUGH] that got a sigh,
it’s now worth considerably more. The curator in charge of
the Mediterranean section, Rodney Young, feared that if he didn’t buy it, that it
would be broken up on the art market and that it would never be
adequately published. So he bought it and it became one of the
treasures of the Penn Museum in a sense. It was published immediately and
the man who published it, one of the curators of
the Mediterranean section, George Bass, who’s known to many of you as
the founder of underwater archaeology, said that he couldn’t say with
certainty where it had come from. Certainly it was looted, no one denied
that and it seemed to have been looted from the northeast Aegean,
no one denied that, either. But the exact provenance could not
be ascertained because in the early Bronze age, there was no hard and
fast division between what is now north western Turkey and what are now the Greek
islands in the northeast of Aegean. It was one common style that
pervaded the entire region. So for example, if I show you
the pin known to be from Troy, the one that Schliemann had found, which
you see at the bottom on the left and then the one from Penn that we
had in this assemblage from 1966. You can see the strong
similarities between the two. If, however, I take you a little further
afield and if you look first at the map, we’ve been here at Troy and I’m now taking you a little further to
the west to the Greek Island of Lemnos. So part of the modern
Republic of Greece and to the early Bronze age site of Poliochni. If you look at their early
bronze age treasure, which is also of gold and
specifically at the bracelets. You can see the one from Poliochni and the
one from Penn very similar in style and the same can be said for the so called
basket earnings, Poliochni on the left and Penn Museum on the right. So, as George Bass said in his
original publication, one couldn’t say with certainty whether it had been
plundered from what is now Greece or from what is now Turkey. Although, he admitted that it must’ve been
plundered from one of those two areas. And I should also say that at that time,
in 1966, he did speak to the antecedent of the
Turkish Ministry of Culture, to let them know that the museum was planning to
purchase it and no objection was raised. So it was assumed that this was
a noncontroversial purchase, nevertheless, it did start a chain reaction among
the curators of the museum and they began discussing whether or
not it was appropriate to purchase artifacts that didn’t have
an archaeological provenance. And in 1970,
they formulated a kind of manifesto, something called
the Pennsylvania Declaration. On April 1st, 1970, which you see on
upper right saying that as of then, they would no longer buy
undocumented antiquities. And this was a decision that was
made in essence as a byproduct of the museum’s earlier decision to
purchase the so called Trojan Gold. Analogous to that of Schliemann and
one week later the International Council of Museums, ICOM, made a decision
to promote the same sort of policy, not buying any antiquities that didn’t
have an archaeological provenance. And then seven months later,
1970 was a banner year in cultural property legislation,
UNESCO formulated its so called UNESCO convention on the illicit
trafficking of cultural property. Saying essentially the same thing that
the Pennsylvania Declaration had said or advocated for and ICOM. Meanwhile, no one was making any
claim on the so-called Troy gold in the Penn Museum and
when I came to Penn, which was in 2005, the first thing I did in and I said, let’s
put this on display for heaven’s sakes. Whether it’s from Lemnos or
whether it’s from Troy, it’s one of our great treasures and we can
use it as part of our teaching because we all touch on Troy in one way or
another in the course of our classes. So I put it on display and I also
invited one of my colleagues at Troy, Ernst Pernicka whom you see in upper
right, an archeometallurgist for the University of Tuebingen, to come
to Philadelphia with his colleague, Hermann Born To analyze the gold. Because with objects that are bought on
the art market, you’re never certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they’re
genuine or that it’s a unified assemblage. They had both recently examined the so
called Treasure of Priam in Moscow at the Pushkin Museum, and so
I wanted them to look our gold to see the extent to which it was similar to what
the Pushkin Museum had now put on display. And they pronounced it all genuine,
was all the same sort of gold, so they thought it was a unified
assemblage of early Bronze Age date, again middle of the third millennium BC,
and in one of the pendants they found a particle of earth,
a kind of grain of sand. And they analyzed it, and
it was found to contain extraordinarily high levels of arsenic,
compatible with the equally extraordinary high levels or
arsenic in the soil of Troy. So this was a kind of smoking gun,
this was the first time that we had had seemingly, I won’t say convincing,
but persuasive evidence that the hoard had originally been
found in Troy or the area around Troy. And I asked Ernst Pernicka about
high arsenic levels on Lemnos, which in my position you would’ve asked
as well, or southeastern Bulgaria, because I wanted to try to get an idea
of how definitive this evidence was. And he said that he thought
the arsenic levels in Troy, the high levels of arsenic at Troy and the
Trojan soil were not matched by Lemnos and southeastern Bulgaria but one would have
to do a test to be absolutely certain. We waited a while before publicizing
this discovery, but we did publicize it. I mean, we’re a public museum, and
so we alerted the reporters to the research that had just been
conducted on the so called Trojan gold. And you see the article that
appeared in January of 2010, raising the question of whether or
not the gold could be from Troy. And after that happened, I waited for
[LAUGH] a shoe to drop, for someone to call me on the phone,
specifically from Turkey, and to say, can we get together and talk? And nothing happened, and so
I didn’t think there was any more to it. And then one year later, I did receive
a call from the Counsel General’s office. The Turkish Consulate General’s office in New York asking if they could
come to see the Trojan gold. And I said, of course. So they sat down, and
one of their guests said to me, you probably wonder why
lawyer is in the room. And I didn’t know he was a lawyer,
and I said, well, I assume you have interest in antiquity. I mean, what lawyer doesn’t
have an interest in antiquity? And he said, no, you don’t understand. I wanna see the dossier involving
the acquisition of the Trojan gold. And I thought, [LAUGH] well.>>[LAUGH]
>>Okay, so in such a situation, of course,
you call the university legal council. And you say, we just were paid a call by someone from
the Turkish Consulate General’s office. And they want to see this dossier. And so we did give them the dossier.. There was nothing to hide. We had also, as I told you, in 1966, approached the antecedent of the Turkish
Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which at that point was still
the Ministry of Education. And the lawyer subsequently told us that he was going to recommend that
no further action be taken. And that the treasure should simply
stay at Penn, because it couldn’t be established beyond a shadow of a doubt
that it didn’t come from Lemnos, or in theory, Southeastern Bulgaria,
although that one was weak. Or conceivably Lesbos. I mean, there were a number of potential
sites from which it could have come. And so we’re now in August of 2011, and I went on sabbatical,
thinking that everything was okay. I went to Rome, to the American Academy,
and then in late September 2011, I received an email from the Turkish
Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Saying, hi.>>[LAUGHS]
>>We were thinking of coming to the Penn Museum
and we’d love to see the Troy gold. And I said, well, I’m in Rome, but
I can set this up for you, of course. And so they came and
looked at the gold and said, we want to claim this for repatriation. And that, for me, was a surprise because nothing had
happened in the intervening 46 years. And also because Turkey had been
approached at the time of acquisition in 1966, and
there had been no reaction at the time. Nor had there been when the gold
had been published again, when the treasurer of Priam and
Moscow was publicized as a result of, again, Mikael Gorbachev’s reforms. And I immediately went to Ankara and
I said to them, but this was acquired four years
before the UNESCO Convention. Because we had always
been taught that 1970, the year of the UNESCO Convention,
was a line in the sand. And if something had been
purchased before 1970, before that convention,
no one would claim it for repatriation. If it was first published after 1970 and had no documentation,
then it might be claimed for repatriation. And it was then that I was
told that UNESCO was no longer the line in the sand that I thought
it was or that they were respecting. They began to cite the Ottoman Antiquities
Law of 1906, which was a new one for me. And so we began a series of negotiations
that lasted for a year, an eventful year. And I went back and forth to
Ankara in the course of that year. It was the first time that I found myself
on this side of the desk, I have to say. During the period when I was
president of the AIA, I testified frequently before the president’s Cultural
Property Advisory Committee on memorandums of understanding between other
countries and the US, and always testified in favor of stronger
cultural property legislation. But this was the first time any case
of this sort had actually touched me. It was also a point when the director of
the Penn Museum was planning to leave. And so, this was Richard Hodges,
who was a wonderful director, but he was on his way out the door. And the new director
hadn’t been chosen yet. So it was a liminal time. And I had to try to find a solution
that would be acceptable to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and
Tourism and to the trustees of
the University of Pennsylvania. Because it wasn’t my decision
to make as to whether or not the gold would go back to Turkey,
it wasn’t the museums decision to make. This was legally the property of
the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, and so the president
of the university, Amy Guffman, had to render a decision
as to what should happen. And this was, if I’m being honest, and
especially speaking to the graduate students, this was one of
the worst times in my life. I mean, the gray hair I have now,
all from that year. Before then, there wasn’t anything. And I couldn’t find a way
through the problems. I couldn’t find a way to satisfy
the president’s office and to satisfy the Ministry of Culture and
Tourism. And there were those of us in the museum who became a little desperate because
we weren’t quite sure what to do. I should add that although the treasure
was purchased for $10,000 in 1966, it was now valued at about 10 million,
so it wasn’t an insignificant amount. So what did we do in terms of the exhibit? We changed the rubric from The Gold
of Troy to Bronze Age Gold.>>[LAUGH]
>>I’m not proud of this. So I changed the title from place to time,
but as you’ll notice, one only had
to go to the fine print to read, as you see, history of Troy,
jewelry of Troy. And Sophia Schliemann’s face gracing
the poster just as it had before. So this didn’t satisfy anyone
except make me look ridiculous. In the end, I was able to find
a compromise that was acceptable to the president’s office and also acceptable
to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. And I can say more about this during
the question and answer session, but in essence, the museum did not
surrender legal title to the treasure. The president said that the university
couldn’t, because you couldn’t build an entire case for
repatriation on this one grain of sand, which again, was the primary piece of
evidence that it had come from Troy. But it could go on indefinite loan
to Turkey with the expectation that we would never see it again. And that, in fact, is what happened. So, it did go to Turkey, where it is now. You see it here in the Ankara Museum. As of about a year ago,
along with a label that leaves out the notion that
it’s on indefinite loan. But it says some very kind
things about the Penn Museum. In return,
we received guarantees that Turkey would support strongly our excavations at
Gordian in the center of the country. Where I’ve been co-director since 2007,
and we also secured the load of material that had been found in
the so-called Midas mound that what we now think is the tomb of Midas’ father,
that would come to the Penn Museum for a year long exhibit in 2016
with pledges of other long-term loans of objects that would travel
from Turkey to Penn in the future. And so with this agreement
in hand we both signed it, the treasure went back to Turkey and
it was the best possible solution that we
could have arrived at I think. I couldn’t find anything else that
would be of agreement to both sides. This claim for repatriation of objects,
some of which have been out of the country of origin for a very long time, of course,
is part of a much larger trend. You need only look at recent
repatriations involving Greece and Italy. And the Metropolitan Museum of Art and
the Getty and a number of other museums
to get a sense of this. These antiquities which have returned and you see one more famous ones In
the upper right, the Euphronios Krater. Having returned to
the Villa Giulia in Rome in 2008. When these objects return they’re
made part of a larger exhibition which is opened with great fanfare,
and with unusual titles. So you see in the case of the antiquities
returned to Italy on upper left, they are called Nostoi. So they’re analogized
to the Homeric heroes who have returned home after
a convoluted set of wanderings. So, the heroes are analogized to
the travels of the antiquities themselves. And, you also see this showing up
increasingly frequently on blog posts, especially as you see in lower right,
a number of antiquities in the British Museum that have been
linked to the label I am Greek and I want to go home. You see this frequently, not just for
Italy and Greece, but for a wide variety of countries. And what’s become increasingly clear
Is that 1970 is no longer the line in the sand that we had all expected it
to be, nor is the 1906 Antiquities Law. So a recent request for
repatriation is the so called Old Fisherman
statue from Aphrodisias, now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin,
which arrived in Berlin in 1905. And it has been requested by
the Turkish Ministry of Culture. Now this is 1905, it’s a year before
the Ottoman Antiquities Law of 1906. So, it’s clear that objects that have
been taken from the country of origin, regardless of the time in which they have
been taken from the country of origin, are now being requested. And similar requests have been made,
as you see here, of the Louvre, the British Museum, and
the Metropolitan Museum, of objects that have been out
of the country long before 1970. Obviously many are concerned about this
because if there is no line in the sand, then where do you stop? Some have said, well, should we go all the way back to
the fourth crusade, for example? To the early 13th century, the fourth
crusade of 1204, when the Venetians sacked Constantinople and took an enormous
amount of material back to Venice. Should all of that be repatriated to
Istanbul even though what Istanbul is now is very different from what Constantinople
was in 1204, so where do you stop. I mean it It’s a conundrum that will give you a headache the likes of
which you’ve never experienced before. The only ones who will be happy about this
will be the lawyers who can buy another country house. Because the litigation surrounding this
kind of case is going to go on for years. Countries have now begun building museums,
that are in and of themselves arguments for repatriation. Many of you are familiar with
the Acropolis Museum in Athens, where there are gaps. Which are intended to be filled by
antiquities that, in their view, may one day be repatriated from the museum
in another country that now holds them. And in this case, the Acropolis Museum
is hoping that the British Museum will repatriate the antiquities
from the Parthenon. So you have these gaps which
are like empty thrones that ideally will one day be
covered with the antiquities. And the same sort of thing will
happen with the new Troy Museum. You’re seeing again an aerial
view of Troy in upper left. Here’s the Hellespont or the Dardanelles,
here’s the Gallipoli peninsula, the mount of Troy. And this is the site of
the new Troy Museum and the rendering of the new Troy Museum,
which is under construction now. That, too, will have gaps,
open spaces, for the antiquities from Troy that
now sit in other countries. And of course there are enormous numbers
of antiquities from Troy that are in other countries, specifically the treasure of
Priam in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. This focus on museums,
on galleries that are empty and shouldn’t be empty is something
that’s been very much in the news. In the context of the recent wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan because the museums there have suffered so grievously, in the course
of the combat that has surrounded them. And I show you here only
the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad after the looting in 2003,
you see it on upper left. Donnie George, the former director, now unfortunately a deceased director
of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, mourning the destruction of
the cultural property in the museum. And of course, it’s not just the museums
in these countries that have been looted and emptied of their contents. It’s also the archaeological sites in
the countries where the war has occurred. If you have war ongoing, then it’s
extraordinarily difficult to patrol the borders and antiquities that
leave the country very easily. And so there has been a wholesale robbery
of the archaeological sites of Iraq and Afghanistan as there now
is of course in Syria and you see the extent of this robbery. These are all pits looking
like the crater of the moon. Craters of the moon,
pits that have been dug by the looters hoping they’ll find something around
the buildings that have been legitimately excavated by archaeologists, that they’ll
be able to sell on the art market. This is the Iraqi site of Zabalam, in southern Iraqi from
the third millennium, BC. All of this came to me In 2003 when
I was president-elect of the AIA. There was concern that we weren’t doing as
much as we should to protect the cultural heritage of these two countries. We needed to do more, and
what were we going to do? Well everyone knew that more should be
done to protect the cultural heritage. But the question was what to do. And I thought, really someone should
do something, and then suddenly, that someone was me, because
the president of the AIA, Jane Waldbaum, had said to me, I’m putting you
in charge of the war desk at AIA. There had been a war desk,
but that was in World War II, there hadn’t been a war desk for
a very long period of time. And to put someone who had gone to
a Quaker college in charge of the war desk was a surprise to me. And she said, you figure out what to do,
and the only thing I could think of, was to bring the archaeologists
from Iraq and Afghanistan to one of the AIA,
APA meetings. Our professional organization’s meetings
to let us know what we could do that would make a positive contribution toward
the protection of cultural heritage in their countries. And so, I brought them to San Francisco
as it happens in January of 2004. Donnie George again, the former director
of the Iraq museum, and in upper left Abdul Wassey Firoozi, who was the head
of the Afghanistan antiquity service. And I said, what can we do
that will make a difference? And it was Abdul Wassey Firoozi who said,
the soldiers who are deploying to Afghanistan, at least, have no idea of the
importance of Afghanistan in antiquity. They don’t understand that it
was part of eastern Greece, which is in fact what it was after the
campaigns of Alexander, they don’t know the history of the contributions
to civilization from Afghanistan. And so,
you need to find a way to tell them that, because if they don’t learn that,
if they don’t understand it, and really take it on board then they won’t
protect the cultural sites, the museums, the libraries, the archeological sites
with the care that those sites require. And I said, well, why don’t I start
a lecture series where archeologists go to military bases throughout the
country, and also to Iraq and Afghanistan, and we’ll do cultural heritage
sensitivity briefings, or training? And he said, great, you do that. Then I had to figure out how to do it, because I had no idea how to
do any of what I’ve just said.>>[LAUGH]
>>And I looked to see what sort of
history there was at AIA for interface with the military,
and there hadn’t been one for a very long time, not since World War II,
the period of the Monuments Men. Which soon to be a major motion picture
starring George Clooney as it happens with opening in December. This was a period when you have academics,
archaeologists, art historians, classicist working with
the military on the retrieval, and repatriation and
conservation of works of art, and antiquity that had
been looted by the Nazi’s. So, you see in this image of the monument
spent on the left, here’s James Rorimer who would later be director of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There were plenty of famous
conservators and art historians, archeologist’s in general
who were part of this. So, the AIA had a very strong link
with the armed forces at that point. And then,
it all changed during the Vietnam war when the academics rather than working with
the military were matching against them. This, of course, was true at
Stanford as it was at Berkeley, as it was at almost every
University in the country. The professor’s joined the students and
everyone marched against the war. And suddenly academics were
viewed with suspicion. They worked potential partners in
the protection of cultural heritage. They were just as much
the enemy as anyone else. Of could be construed as such. And so, there was no history of
the AIA interfacing with the military. There hadn’t been since 1945. I had to figure out a way
to put it in place again. And the only thing I could think of was
to turn to Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, who was in charge of repatriating
the antiquities that had been stolen from the Iraq museum after 2003. You see him on the left pulling out part
of the Warka vase from a blue ice chest. You see the vase in the center, and the vase as it was returned
to the Iraq museum. On the left, and the antiquities that
he successfully was able to find and repatriate to the museum on the right. He had gone to graduate school with me at
Columbia studying ancient history and law. He’s a district attorney in Manhattan,
he’s the one who prosecuted Puff Daddy, for whatever it was that Puff Daddy
was alleged to have done.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so, I hadn’t spoken to him in 25 years. But I didn’t know anyone else to call who
could help me liaise with the military. I should say, that the first thing
I did was to say to myself, well, to get permission for this I probably need
to write to the Department of Defense, so I suppose I need to
write to Donald Rumsfeld who was in charge of
the Department of Defense then. And I wrote a very nice cordial letter to
Donald Rumsfeld, that I’m sure was never opened, and explaining what I wanted to
do and that obviously yielded nothing. So, then, I talked to Matthew, I called him on the phone at home after 25
years and said, hello, Matthew [LAUGH]. Do you remember me from 25 years ago I
need your help, I wanna start a lecture program, and I don’t know how to interface
with the military, and he said, okay, don’t Donald Rumsfeld he
won’t open your letter.>>[LAUGH]
>>As indeed he still hasn’t. You need to liaise with
the US central command and I’ll help you get this through
the channels through which you need to go. And he did, and so, nine months
after I had proposed the program of Cultural Heritage Sensitivity Training,
it was approved. That meant that I could now organize
a team of archeologists to go to military bases, and lecture on cultural heritage
sensitivity in Iraq and Afghanistan. That was not as easy as
I thought it would be. I was able to get permission early
on to go to a series of bases, the army base at Fort Bliss in El Paso,
Camp Lejeune, the marine base in North Carolina,
Fort Dix in central New Jersey on the lower left where
I still give these briefings. I still do these briefings
nine years later, but the fact that the US central command says,
it’s okay, to give them doesn’t mean, that you can just walk into a base and
say, hello here’s archaeology. You have to get the approval of each
of the base commanders, and so, that was a different salesmanship issue. Once I got in the door they
asked me to give a lecture for them first, cuz how did they know
I’m not a Latter day Jane Fonda, or Tom Hayden, or Abbie Hoffman,
or someone like that. Many of you don’t know who those
people were, but you can imagine that they were not politically neutral in
the Vietnam war, as indeed they weren’t. So, I gave them the lecture, and you see
the first one I gave on upper right, this is at camp Lejeune,
they’re army fatigues, I’m wearing tweed,
which is what our people wear.>>[LAUGH].
And they were very receptive
to what I was lecturing on. The problem was,
there were several problems. At the beginning they said, well, you have, in some cases at Fort Bliss
they said, okay, you have 20 minutes. 20 minutes, to present the history
of all of Mesopotamia and Afghanistan, and
the fundamentals of historic preservation. So, we’re all used to condensing,
but this was a new exercise in that, and then, I had to convince other
archeologists that this was okay to do. There were plenty of anthropologists
who felt that we were doing something inappropriate. We were collaborating with the military,
we were part of the invasion. We were part of the problem,
rather than the solution. And so, this is something we can also
talking about during the question and answer session. And as I often say, some of
the archeologists I had tapped to do this were disenchanted with
their reception by the army. It’s not to say it was
an unfriendly reception, it was a very friendly reception. But, as an academic when
you go on lecture tours, such as this one, everyone is
phenomenally nice to you [LAUGH]. They feed you magnificent dinners, they treat you almost like a king,
you get used to that. It’s a lovely thing. The army isn’t like that.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so, people weren’t used to someone saying. You need to lecture to 500 soldiers
in five minutes, it’s there. You cannot say I was uninformed of this,
you have to say let’s go, that’s what you have to do. And not every academic was
prepared to do this, so I did more of them than I was expecting. [LAUGH] The vast majority, finally I turned to professors of
archaeology who were Vietnam veterans. Because they knew how the Army worked, and they were willing to adapt to
the routine that they found in place. And in time they let me go to Iraq and
Afghanistan and do the cultural heritage sensitivity training there,
and for longer periods of time. I always say this is my
Michael Dukakis photograph. Because some of you know that when Michael
Dukakis ran for president, he had himself photographed in a tank and he looked
unnatural, as do I where body armor.>>[LAUGH]
>>But it was a war zone, so that’s what you do. And so
I learned how to condense the history of archaeology in the near
eastern central Asia. And also to tell them something about
historic preservation, because so many of them were going to be
dealing with mud brick architecture. Where they were going to be expanding
bases where in digging down the earth would change from sandy to a dark brown. That would mean they were getting in
the vicinity of a mud brick building, that’s to say an ancient settlement and
they would need to know to stop. I also needed to tell them what to
do if they walked into a museum that had just been hit by a rocket. Of course, I had to learn how to do all
of these things before I could teach it to the soldiers, this was not something
one studies in graduate school. In fact, during the early years when
reporters would call me as president-elect of AIA, and say what do you think of these
particular treasures in Afghanistan? Well, I’ve never study
the archaeology of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, they were phone interviews,
and so I could type it up on Wikipedia
as I was on the phone.>>[LAUGH]
>>And say that’s a very difficult issue, there are a variety of ways
to approach that issue. As I’m reading the date and
the importance of the treasure, but you stretch yourself,
that’s what we do as academics. And so over time I became
an expert in these subjects, and I taught other archaeologists how they
could effectively do the presentation. And I found others who were of the same
mind and who wanted to contribute one of them was the archaeologist
at Fort Drum, Laurie Rush. Who developed these cultural
heritage sensitivity playing cards, that were designed to highlight
the lessons that I was giving them in the cultural heritage training sessions. And I just show you one
enlarged on the right. How would we feel if someone destroyed
the torch of The Statue of Liberty? What obviously we would feel devastated. What we were trying to
communicate was the sense of loss that the residents of these countries
feel when their antiquities are destroyed. And of course a great number of those
antiquities have been destroyed, some of them egregious
examples of destruction. The colossal Buddhas in
Bamiyan being a case in point. You see it before the destruction on
the left, 53 meters high, 170 feet high, carved in the early 6th century AD, so
what would be the reign of Justinian. And then of course the Taliban
tied dynamite to the ankles and shoulders of the Buddha. And you see it now an empty shell on the
right where there’s been a great deal of discussion as to how this
should be commemorated. Should the Buddha somehow be rebuilt, or would it be more powerful
to leave it as a void? This kind of destruction of course
has been widespread in the near east in a variety of contexts. So of course we say this
in particular in 2003, when images of Saddam Hussein were in many
cases blindfolded and then pulled down. And you see one of them on upper right and then the destruction of another image
of Saddam Hussein on lower right. This is something that continues
a long process of iconoclasm, or damnationas, the defacement of images. You can take it back to at least the early
third millennia BC in Egypt, in plenty of places in Mesopotamia, ancient Iraq,
in the third, second, first millennium BC. And some think that the destruction
of the images of the soldiers of Persepolis in what is now southwestern
Iran as you see on the left. Were defaced by the soldiers of
Alexander the Great when Alexander moved through this capitol
of the Persian Empire. It’s sort of two bookends
of image defacement, defacement of the images of rulers. And this, all of these developments
have given rise recently to an interesting series of books of
which I single out only three. One asking Are We Rome? Has America Become Ancient Rome? Another one Jim Cuno, who was just down the road in Los Angeles
at the Getty asking Who Owns Antiquity? What should our attitude be toward these
objects that one sees on the art market, or as some of us would say,
orphaned objects? Objects that were bought a long time
ago and have a cloudy heritage. And then Steven Cohn’s book,
Do Museums Still Need Objects? Should we not worry at all about acquiring
new objects or even keeping them? Should the emphasis be more on digital
reconstructions and touchscreens, which go over better with
children than the actual objects? And I want to touch on each one of these
issues in conclusion of this lecture. Are we Rome? We’ve all dealt with
the issue of similarities and differences between the ancient world and
the modern world. This next image is the one that I always
think of, it’s a very strong image. But if you look at the column
of Cragan in Rome, which dates to the early
second century AD, you’re seeing Roman soldiers holding
the severed heads of their Dacian enemies. Dacia being ancient Romania. These heads have been severed and they’re being held aloft to show to
Trasian the emperor as war trophies. You can easily find comparable
images on the web of the Taliban holding severed
heads of their captives. And they’re holding those heads in a sense
in the same capacity that the Roman soldiers are holding the Dacian heads. And these are war trophies in a sense,
and so people ask me what’s the difference
between antiquity and the modern period? There’s a technological change, but otherwise I can’t see a difference,
I can’t find it. Human nature, for me at least, is
the same now as it had been in antiquity. The cast of characters have changed, the centers of power have changed,
but the basic features of war, it’s commemoration, and
it’s abuses continue unabated. Who Owns Antiquity? We’ve seen this dominate the news in so many recent accounts especially
in the last few years. Where with the rise of nationalism in so
many countries including our own we’ve seen a greater claim
toward the antiquities. A greater claim for the repatriation of the antiquities
that had left the countries of origin. So I’m showing you
the demonstrations in Lima, Peru three years ago
against Yale University. When they were arguing for
the return of the artifacts that had been taken by Hiram Bingham from
Machu Picchu a 100 years earlier. And of course, those antiquities were returned to
Peru only a couple of years ago. And you see the same sort of
thing in the lower image, with the human chain that had formed
around the Cairo Archaeological Museum at the time of the civil war
which of course is still ongoing. But this image from 2011 where the The
Egyptians, or a group of Egyptians were so concerned about the loss of cultural
heritage from that museum and mindful of what had happened to
the Iraqis leaving Baghdad in 2003. That they formed a protective zone around
it to protect it from any kind of theft. Even though there was theft,
it was only about 50 objects. And there are new cards that are being
played in the context of these claims for repatriation. So if we again look at
the situation in Turkey. When they recently claimed a sphinx,
part of the gate from Bogazkoy, the capital of the Hittite Empire,
ancient Hattusa a few years ago. And Berlin,
it was at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. And Berlin said, well,
we’re not gonna give it back. You gave it to us in the 1920s, and Turkey said,
show us the proof that we gave it to you. And they said,
the proof was in a group of papers that were in a building that was
bombed during World War II. So we do not have the papers to show you,
but really you did give it to us. And so there was a new card played
at that time, where Turkey said, either give it back to us or lose the right to continue digging at
the archeological site where it was found. And lose the right to continue digging
at any archeological site in Turkey. Now, some of the most prominent
expeditions in Turkey are sites that have been dug or the permit has been held by
Germans for a very long period of time. Prahini, Miletus, Pergamon, Hattusha, now Gobeklitepe this
great early Neolithic site. So this was going to be a major change and
a major impact on German archeology, and in the end,
they did give the sphinx back, and so it’s now at the Turkish site of Chorum. But this use of the right to conduct
research in another country as leverage for the repatriation of antiquities was,
in my experience, new. And I think that we’ll
see that in more cases. Sometimes there’s a question
as to what is art or what is a monument, and what should be
preserved and how should it be preserved. And I always like to use this
example as a case in point. When I was in southern Iraq, this is at
the site of Ur, so you see the ziggurat of Ur behind me in upper right, and
I was discussing with Abdul Amir Abdani, the archeological site supervisor for
the district around Ur. We were discussing the House of Abraham,
which you see on lower right. Abraham, of course, reportedly
lived in Ur, and if he lived in Ur, he had a residence. Saddam Husain built this
residence from scratch in 1999. He was hoping that the Pope,
who had announced his intention to visit biblical pilgrimage sites in the Vatican’s
year of jubilee year of 2000, would come to Ur on a Papal visit if there
was a house of Abraham for him to visit. So Saddam Hussein built a 40
room mansion for Abraham, which is perfectly ridiculous. Even the king of Ur didn’t
have a 40-room mansion.>>[LAUGH]
>>Let alone Abraham, who probably had a mud brick hut. But he built it, and of course the pope
said no, no, no, no, I’m not coming. Nevertheless, it still sat there and
still sits there. And we were discussing
what its fate should be. And I said, you know,
it’s now part of the history of the site, it’s part of the site’s biography. And so don’t destroy it,
put up a sign that indicates the extent to which the site has been used as a
component of recent political propaganda. That’s part of its narrative. But don’t destroy it, the destruction of cultural property,
which I would count this house as being, even though it’s wholesale fabrication of
Saddam Hussein, I think that never solves anything and interrupts
the narrative richness of any site. And you can see his
reaction to that appeal. The State Department photographer
captured that moment. I mean you can see my hands,
I’m gesturing, let it stand, and he has his arms crossed over his chest,
saying, I want it destroyed. It still survives up to this point. But there is a great deal of cultural
property, of course, that has been destroyed and some would not necessarily
call it cultural property, but I would. During when I was in southern
Afghanistan two years ago, I was at Ghazni, which you see circled
by the black rectangle on upper right. And you again see me in my
Michael Dukakis body armor on upper left. That was my last day in Afghanistan. It was the day after the minister
in Florida had burned the Quran. So my last day, was the day in which
the news of the burning of the Quran had reached the people of Afghanistan. And many of you read
about this at the time, there were riots all over the country. There were a number of people who died. There were Afghans who died, there were
United Nations personnel who died. It was a terrible thing,
I would count this as the same, I would put this in the same category
of destruction of cultural property as I would all of the other
objects that I’ve shown you. So that begs the question, well,
how do we stop all of this? What are the solutions? And of course, no one has an idea
solution as to what one can do. One of the things one can do is band
together as archeological organizations. So what I argued at the time was that
we needed a kind of United Nations of archaeologists, so
that we would speak with one voice when cultural property was threatened
again, as surely it will be. Because at the time in which
the Iraq Museum was robbed, we didn’t speak with one voice. Each archeological organization wanted
to be the one with the best message, the best solution, the most publicity,
and so no one talked to anyone. I mean, we did, but it wasn’t to
the extent that it should have been. And so now the AIA,
the Russian Academy of Sciences, the German Archeological Institute, and
plenty of other archeological societies all over the world have signed an
agreement saying, if this happens again, we will speak with one voice. Now, that’s easier said than done. But at least we’ve laid the groundwork for
it. There are other developments that
are noteworthy in this context. The blue shield,
the cultural equivalent of the red cross, is now much stronger
than it has been before. And they also were part of these cultural
heritage sensitivity trainings for soldiers. And of course, it doesn’t just
work to do the training for soldiers, you need to train or ensure that
the residents of these countries where cultural property is at risk are trained
in the best conservation techniques. And so in the last few years, we’ve seen
the foundation of the Iraqi institute for the Conservation of the Antiquities and
Heritage in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where Iraqi
conservators are trained throughout the year in the conservation of both
objects and archaeological sites. And of course, you have to be trained to
be intolerant of other civilizations, you have to be taught to be
intolerant of other people, it’s not something that
you’re born feeling. So reaching out to children, starting
cultural heritage sensitivity programs for children in every country is vital, and this is something that we’ve also
started doing at the AIA, and something that I now do with
increasing frequency in Philadelphia. Many of us who become academics think
that, okay, now we only have to lecture to college age students and
graduate students, which is lots of fun. It’s a different experience when you’re
lecturing to people in kindergarten, where they have no temporal or spatial
perspective so that’s really hard, or primary school or, God forbid, junior high school, when they’re
going through puberty, that’s hard. That’s just very hard. But it’s something that’s
the responsibility of all of us, to reach out to children at
an extraordinarily young age, so that they learn the folly
of this kind of intolerance. I always like to end my
lectures with this slide. It’s a photo of the Kabul Archeological
Museum in 2001, after the Taliban were ejected from, or at least their
dominance over Kabul had ended. The bilingual sign in Dari and
English that was erected above the entrance to
the Kabul Archaeological Museum, saying a nation stays alive
when its culture stays alive. And that’s now memorialized In a plaque
next to the entrance of the museum. Cultural heritage, of course,
is a fragile thing. And the protection of that cultural
heritage requires a group of resourceful creative people, generation after
generation, whether there’s war or not. Because we’re going into a period where
the war is gradually winding down, but we’re seeing additional
wars in other locations. We can’t ever let up on these attempts, and many of you are already doing it,
although you may not know it. Through your field work, your research,
your support for the humanities, you’re already playing a vital role in
the protection of cultural heritage. Keeping cultural heritage alive, and thus you are keeping the nations alive
associated with that cultural heritage. So thank you for doing that and
thank you for listening to me tonight. Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>For more, please visit us at stanford.edu.

6 thoughts on “Who Owns Antiquity? Museums, Repatriation, and Armed Conflict

  1. Hi guys. Just gonna say this. Doubt anyone will even read it but my dream is to go here. It's the only thing I want to do know. The sad thing is that I'm half a globe away… I really hope I can join one day 🙂

  2. You can find who owns most things on the google. I looked real quick, but I couldn't find anyone who owned it. Good luck in your quest…there's gotta be someone who knows!

  3. This is a tricky subject and you seem to be cruising in mine filled waters. I wonder what Dr. Rose's thoughts, in an area outside his specialty, on UPM's two of the the Tang Dynasty Six Steeds of the Zhaoling Mausoleum.

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