Head of Libya's archeology authority urges neighboring countries to help end smuggling of antiquities

Head of Libya's archeology authority urges neighboring countries to help end smuggling of antiquities

September 16, 2017 - 22:39
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Written By: AbdulkaderAssad

The Head of Libya's archeology authority, Ahmed Hussein, urged neighboring countries to help Libya foil smuggling of antiquities and regain the looted ones, given the current security status in Libya and the open borders that lack control.

Hussein said on the sidelines of the regional seminar in Tunisia's Djerba that Libya's heritage is being looted by illicit digging that is done at night around the valleys and in the cemeteries.

He also added that a massive number of artifacts are being smuggled via neighboring countries' borders.

"That's why those countries should bear some responsibility in securing borders and seizing then returning any looted Libyan antiquities en route to be smuggled out of Libya." Hussein explained.

Despite the fact that there are no clear numbers for how many artifacts have been smuggled out of Libya, Hussein said the issue is very serious as the objects are not stolen from museums or stocks, but rather "from Libya which is an open air museum for archaeological objects speaking of bygone epochs," he added.

He also indicated that the International Council of Museums issued in 2015 a "red list" for Libyan cultural heritage, aiming at having Libya prove its heritage exited, thus allowing Libya to claim many artifacts in France, Spain, Britain, and Israel in spite of the fact that the objects will remain in those countries as the status quo in Libya doesn't seem appropriate to reclaim them.

 

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