Call for Action to Protect Egyptian Antiquities, Cultural Heritage, and Tourism Economy

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We, the undersigned, strongly urge immediate action to protect Egyptian antiquities, important sites, and cultural heritage. In so doing, significant archaeological artifacts and irreplaceable historic objects will be preserved. Importantly, such protection will help the Egyptian economy in the wake of political revolution. Such an initiative will also help stem illicit international crime organizations that have links to money laundering, human trafficking and the drug trade.

Whereas, Egyptian antiquities and sites are among the most historically significant and important in the world.

Whereas, Egypt has numerous museums and historical sites, some of which are victims of ongoing looting, including recent reports that artifacts originally from Tutankhamen’s tomb have been stolen.

Whereas, more than 50 ancient Egyptian artifacts have been reported stolen from the Cairo Museum alone.

Whereas, UNESCO has called for international mobilization to block cultural artifacts stolen from Egypt.

Whereas, the tourism industry in Egypt is closely tied to cultural expeditions, employs one in eight Egyptians, accounts for some $11 billion in revenue for the Egyptian economy, and is the one of the largest sectors of the Egyptian economy.

We call upon Congress and the President to direct the following actions:

  • The Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies to use vigorously their authority under the National Stolen Property Act and smuggling statutes to prevent the import of, and trade in, stolen cultural objects from Egypt.
  • The Department of State to work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in implementing import restrictions on undocumented cultural artifacts from Egypt.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation and ICE/HSI to coordinate with foreign counterparts and to initiate targeted law enforcement operations with the aim of seizing stolen or illegally exported cultural property, arresting the criminals involved, and seizing and confiscating the proceeds of these and related crimes.
  • US-AID to grant additional monies for protection and management of archaeological sites, museums, and historical monuments.

We further call for the following additional actions:

  • INTERPOL to use its special expertise in identifying and sharing critical information throughout its 188 member countries, and in particular to use its I- 24/7 telecommunications system for the exchange of information related to crimes involving Egyptian cultural property and to identify suspicious financial transactions which can lead to the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds.
  • The United States Congress to designate funds for the protection of Egyptian antiquities as part of its economic aid package for Egypt.

These actions are in keeping with U.S. law and international obligations, including those under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. They will help promote the protection of invaluable cultural heritage and will continue to provide the crucial basis for tourism revenue as Egypt seeks to build a successful democratic economy.


Eric H. Cline, Ph.D.
Director, GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute
The George Washington University

Terry Garcia
Executive Vice President
National Geographic Society

James P. Allen, President
International Association of Egyptologists

Emily Teeter, President
American Research Center in Egypt

Elizabeth Bartman, President
The Archaeological Institute of America

Tim Harrison, President
The American Schools of Oriental Research

Patty Gerstenblith, President
The Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation

Charles Stanish
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.

Dorothea Arnold, Chairman
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Dr. Christine Lilyquist
Curator, Emeritus
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Catharine H. Roehrig, Curator
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Marsha Hill, Curator
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Adela Oppenheim, Associate Curator
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Isabel Stuenkel, Assistant Curator
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Janice Kamrin, Assistant Curator
Department of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

W. Raymond Johnson, PhD
Director, Epigraphic Survey
Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
Chicago House, Luxor, Egypt

Peter Lacovara, Ph.D.
Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art
M.C. Carlos Museum
Emory University

Betsy M. Bryan
Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology
Johns Hopkins University

Peter Der Manuelian
Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology
Harvard University

John Coleman Darnell
Professor of Egyptology
Chair, Department of NELC
Yale University

Kent R. Weeks
Professor Emeritus of Egyptology
Director of the Theban Mapping Project
The American University in Cairo

David P. Silverman
Professor of Egyptology
University of Pennsylvania

Lorelei H. Corcoran, Ph.D.
Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology
The University of Memphis

Dr. Peter J. Brand
Department of History
The University of Memphis

Carol A. Redmount, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Near Eastern Studies
UC Berkeley

Roger S. Bagnall, Ph.D.
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
New York University

Richard Wilkinson, Ph.D.
University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition

Ann Macy Roth, Ph.D.
New York University

Stephen P. Harvey, Ph.D.
Stony Brook University

Sarah H. Parcak, PhD, FSA
Assistant Professor, Dept. of History and Anthropology
Director, Laboratory for Global Observation
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Gregory D. Mumford, PhD
Assistant Professor, Dept. of History and Anthropology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Suzanne Onstine
Assistant Professor of History (Egyptology)
University of Memphis

Edward Bleiberg, Ph.D.
Curator Egyptian Art
Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, NY

Denise Doxey, Ph.D.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Edwin C. Brock
Director, Merenptah Sarcophagi Restoration Project

Kathlyn (Kara) Cooney
Assistant Professor of Egyptology
University of California at Los Angeles

Willeke Wendrich
Professor, Egyptian Archaeology and Digital Humanities
Department of NELC / Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA

Richard Jasnow
Department of Near Eastern Studies
Johns Hopkins University

Helaine Silverman, Director
Collaborative for Cultural Heritage and Museum Practices
University of Illinois

Prof. Salima Ikram
American University in Cairo

Dr. Lynley Wallis, President
Australian Archaeological Association

Prof. Dr. Joachim Friedrich Quack
Director, Egyptological Institute, Heidelberg University
Member of the Heidelberg Academy of Science

Christopher Eyre
Professor of Egyptology
University of Liverpool

Ken Garrett
Freelance Photographer

Margaret W. Conkey, President
Society for American Archaeology

Kathleen M. Coleman, President
American Philological Association

Ben A. Nelson
President, Archaeology Division
American Anthropological Association

Sandra L. Lopez Varela, Ph.D., RPA
President, Society for Archaeological Sciences

Chapurukha M. Kusimba
President, Society of Africanist Archaeologists

Pauline Saliga
Executive Director
Society of Architectural Historians

Corine Wegener, President
U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

Kaywin Feldman, President
Association of Art Museum Directors

Sally Block, Executive Director
Association of Art Museum Curators

Professor Archer St.Clair Harvey
Director, Program in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies
Department of Art History
Rutgers University

Dr. Alfonz Lengyel
Founder, Sino American Field School of Archaeology
Sarasota, Florida (USA) & Xi'an, Shaanxi (China)

Jacke Phillips, Ph.D.
Department of the History of Art and Archaeology
School of Oriental and African Studies
University of London

Peter A. Piccione, Ph.D.
Satellite Survey of Western Thebes
Theban Tombs Publication Project
College of Charleston, University of Charleston

Janet Richards, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Egyptology
Department of Near Eastern Studies
Associate Curator for Dynastic Egypt
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Richard Fazzini, Ph.D.
Curator Emeritus of Egyptian Art
The Brooklyn Museum

Prof. Dr. Friederike Fless
President of the German Archaeological Institute
Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Klassische Archäologie

Douglas C. Comer, Ph.D.
Prof. Dr. Willem J.H. Willems, Ph.D.
International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM)

Claire Smith, Ph.D.
President, World Archaeological Congress

Edna R. Russmann, Ph.D.
Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Near Eastern Art
The Brooklyn Museum

Stuart Tyson Smith, Ph.D.
Professor and Undergraduate Advisor
Department of Anthropology
University of California at Santa Barbara

Professor Maria Herminia Tavares de Almeida
President, Latin American Studies Association

Milagros Pereyra
Executive Director, Latin American Studies Association

Lyn Green, Ph.D.
The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities

Ms. Lisa Simon, President
National Tour Association

Mr. Edward Bergman
Executive Director
Africa Travel Association

Mr. Terry Dale, President
United States Tour Operators Association

Ms. J. Mara Delli Priscoli
Executive Director
Educational Travel Community

Mr. Tony Gonchar
Chief Executive Officer
American Society of Travel Agents

Nigel J. Hetherington, M.A.
Past Preservers

Barbara G. Mertz, Ph.D.
aka Elizabeth Peters, author

Karen V. Edwards, Ph.D.
Art Historian
University of Akron, Akron, Ohio

Francesco Tiradritti, Ph.D.
Italian Archaeological Mission to Luxor

Mark Rabinowitz, Conservator 
Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation 

William Webber
The Art Loss Register