Controlling antiquities legitimizes power

Controlling antiquities legitimizes power

By Vestnik Kavkaza

Last week terrorists of the terrorist organization Islamic State occupied the Syrian city of Palmyra. “This is a cradle of human civilization; and any damage or destruction to Palmyra will be a military crime and the greatest loss for humanity,” the head of UNESCO Irina Bokova said.

Shahmardan Amirov, lead researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, citing a French archaeologist and Orientologist Andre Parrot, says that every person living in the world has two homelands: one of them is the place where he was born, and the second is Syria. “The contribution of Syria to world culture is so significant that the entire world civilization is based on those achievements which were made in Syria, in Mesopotamia to be specific."

"Palmyra has monuments of the 1st and 3rd centuries, when Palmyra was destroyed by the Romans. But there has always been the oasis of Palmyra. And the whole history of mankind in the last 10 thousand years is reflected in the cultural layers which were on the site. They are already museum exhibits to a significant degree,” the archeologist says.

According to him, all the major archaeological missions of the planet worked in Syria, including Russian archaeological missions: “About 25 foreign expeditions worked in the province of El-Hasika. All the archaeological missions which worked in Gezer and in the province of El-Hasika in particular, brought their findings to the museum of the city of Deir ez-Zor. There was a wonderful museum there. Knowing that the city of Deir ez-Zor in particular has been captured by obscurantists, I imagine that nothing is left of those treasures, which have been collected over the last 30 years.

They were priceless cultural values for us. And for some they are quite material. Each item of antiquity has great material value. I can only guess where all those things are now and whose collections they decorate, including those things which were found by our expedition in the Tel-Hazna area.” 

Shahmardan Amirov thinks that the attention which all civilized humanity pays to the science of archeology now is connected with politics: “Controlling antiquities legitimizes power, it gives a right to live on this earth and in the future. While the succession of this situation is legal. The loss of heritage occurring in Syria is a catastrophe for all mankind. Will we be legitimate as a community of earthlings if we do not have these roots?”



Vestnik Kavkaza

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