To preserve and safeguard the cultural heritage of Italy
Italy is home to a vast and invaluable collection of ancient monuments, ruins and archaeological sites, all of which contain undiscovered materials. For centuries Italy’s cultural property has been plundered and sold on the global illicit antiquities market by tombaroli (the Italian name for illicit diggers). Tombaroli dig for anything they can sell: coins, sculpture, vases or glass. But, what the Tombaroli steal is not only Italy’s national patrimony but that of the world, especially given the extraordinary historical influence of the culture of Classical and early Christian Rome. If such crimes continue, we will all lose precious remains of a culture which has influenced the world for over two thousand of years.
We at SAFE feel strongly that the best way to understand objects of Italian history is within their archaeological, architectural and historical contexts, scientifically examined and professionally preserved. As such, we support the laws and regulations that protect Italy's vast cultural riches. Since 2001, the bilateral agreement that imposes import restrictions on Italian antiquities from entering the U.S. has shown America's commitment to protecting this important part of our world heritage. When the agreement was up for renewal in 2005, SAFE launched an online campaign and gathered over 1,000 signatures to our petition in support of renewal. The agreement was renewed in 2006 and again in 2011.
Italy is an active member of UNESCO and has developed the most remarkable enforcement mechanism of antiquities laws of any country: the Carabinieri's Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (TPC), world famous for its capture and prosecution of antiquities thieves. It is vital that we continue to join with Italy in the fight to protect and preserve its heritage for our future.
For more information about SAFE's campaign to raise public support for the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the U.S. and Italy visit http://savingantiquities.org/i-safe-mouitaly.php
This is an initiative of SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving cultural heritage worldwide. http://www.savingantiquities.org
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1. An antiquity loses its informative value when torn from its original context without proper scientific excavation
2. Looting, smuggling, and trading illicit antiquities destroys information about our shared cultural heritage
3. We promote respect for the laws and treaties that protect cultural heritage and property.
4. We encourage legal and ethical behavior among collectors, dealers, and museums to stop the trade in illicit antiquities.
5. 5. We envision a world in which looting and destruction of ancient sites and the marketing and collecting of undocumented artifacts is unthinkable