Friday, December 20, 2019

To What State Does that Artifact Belong?

I read that the U.S. – Jordan Cultural Property Agreement was signed on December 16, 2019.  It aims to "restrict the import of Jordanian artifacts to the United States of America, which includes coins, manuscripts, stones, minerals, ceramics, glass, mosaic plates and ancient bones, seashells and human, animal and plant remains, whose history ranges from about 1.5 million years BC to about 1750 AD".  It also stresses the "need to return Jordanian artifacts that was confiscated in the United States of America to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan".  In addition, there is the goal of "increasing awareness of the Jordanian civilizational and cultural heritage".

Far be it from me to interfere with archaeological preservation but I am wondering about a problem.

Up until 1922, the territory of that kingdom by the desert was part, and so it was known, of Palestine. 

If there is an artifact in the US from, say, 1100 BCE, does it belong to Jordan, a future Palestine or, perhaps, Israel, the state that ruled the area at that time? Please recall, it was named Palestine by the Romans only in 135 CE.

This is confounding me.

Did Assistant US Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Mrs. Marie Royce who signed the document or her superiors give a thought about that?



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