In January 2007, at the 107th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), the AIA, together with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) and the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, signed a Joint Statement of Principle on the Protection of Archaeological Sites, Monuments, and Museums. The statement, reproduced on the following page, came about through a series of meetings between officers of the AIA and the DAI over the past two years, which grew to include our colleagues from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. We all agreed that it was necessary for archaeologists to speak out strongly against looting and other forms of destruction of the archaeological record across the globe. We felt that it would be much more effective if our organizations, representing a group of countries with wide geographic and chronological areas of interest, articulated our concerns collectively rather than individually. Representatives of all three organizations were involved in drafting the document, and representatives of all three were present at the signing ceremony.
The signing of this historic document inaugurates a new era of international cooperation among archaeologists who are actively working to preserve the world’s archaeological resources. In a time of armed conflict, we need to promote the protection of cultural heritage more energetically than we have done thus far, becoming, in essence, a United Nations of archaeologists. Our numbers will grow as new collaborations are forged, and in time the archaeological institutes of the world will speak with one voice when cultural heritage is threatened. Other organizations interested in lending their support to these principles are encouraged to sign on.
C. Brian Rose
President, Archaeological Institute of America