The U.S. Legal Response to the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage

Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel and Kathryn Walker Tubb

in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780813029726
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039145 | DOI:
The U.S. Legal Response to the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage

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This chapter provides an historical account of the negotiations that preceded the 1983 implementation of the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention in the United States as the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA). It also shows that some art museums lined up with anthropology museums during negotiations over the CPIA—but this does nevertheless have a general relevance. In particular, the chapter describes some of the legal remedies that have been adopted for the protection of the world cultural patrimony, both at the international level and, in greater detail, with regard to the legislation of the United States. The chapter gives an overview of some aspects of current U.S. law regulating international trade in antiquities in the United States. The history of the political struggles and compromises that shaped the U.S. Cultural Property Implementation Act in its present form is recounted. Moreover, the chapter offers some suggestions for possible improvements in the Act. It appears to be that the long-term task for archaeologists must be to sensitize both citizens and politicians to the immense loss to historical patrimony that is being caused by the illicit trade in antiquities.

Keywords: Cultural Property Implementation Act; United States; world cultural heritage; art museums; anthropology museums; international trade; antiquities; U.S. law

Chapter.  14354 words. 

Subjects: Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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