Saturday, February 13, 2010

Over the years, more books and documentary films have appeared to describe a once unreported problem--the looting of cultural heritage. Journeyman Pictures produced the documentary Blood Antiques, which is now airing online on Link TV.  Using hidden cameras inside the antiquities market in Belgium and Afghanistan, the filmmakers uncover raw evidence of the underground illegal antiquities trade and advance the important argument of its connection with terror funding.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spring semester's Historic Preservation courses begin soon

Plymouth State University's Certificate in Historic Preservation program is offering four courses this spring semester, one in Plymouth and three at its Concord campus.

At a time when many adults are returning to the classroom to enhance their professional skills, this graduate-level program seeks to instill a fundamental understanding of preservation issues and challenges while providing basic skills and training for those who work for community preservation organizations and agencies, or in aligned fields such as planning, law or architecture.

Spring 2010's courses are:

Preservation Planning and Management: Now seen as integral to the definition and protection of cultural landscapes, historic preservation planning and cultural resource management (CRM) are accomplished through the identification, evaluation, documentation, registration, treatment and ongoing stewardship of historic properties. This course examines the tools of preservation planning and management and illustrates their application at the federal, state and local levels. Guest speakers share their real-world experiences. Includes one required field trip on March 20. Taught in Concord by Elizabeth H. Muzzey, State Historic Preservation Officer. 3 credits. Begins March 1.

Archaeological Methods: Students will be exposed to archaeological field and laboratory techniques, and will learn the types of research questions that archaeologists ask while reconstructing past cultures. The course draws upon prehistoric and historic examples, there will be many opportunities to handle artifacts in the classroom, and both terrestrial and underwater sites will be featured. There will be required field trip to archaeological sites to demonstrate equipment and techniques in the field. Taught in Plymouth by David Starbuck, associate professor of Anthropology/Sociology at PSU. 3 credits. Begins March 2.

Cultural Property Law: Antiquities Trafficking, War and Stolen Heritage: Archaeological site looting, transnational antiquities trafficking and armed conflicts threaten global cultural heritage. This course examines the international, national and state legal frameworks for the protection and movement of cultural property. Topics for discussion include the 1954 Hague Convention, the 1970 UNESCO Convention, the ICOM Code of Ethics, the National Stolen Property Act and the Cultural Property Implementation Act. The course also introduces students to important national heritage laws such as the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the rules governing shipwrecks. State statutes and the common law regulating cultural property are also reviewed. Includes on required field trip on March 19. Taught in Concord by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Esq. 3 credits. Begins March 3.

Principles of Historic Preservation: This course provides a foundation to historic preservation, focusing on principles and theories pertaining to preservation and restoration practices; recognition of architectural periods, styles, and construction methods in context of the evolution of cultural landscapes; the definition of significance and integrity in buildings and districts; strategies by which buildings and their settings have been preserved and used; and methods of reading and interpreting the cultural environment. Three required field trips: March 6, April 10, May 1. Taught in Concord by Christopher W. Closs, planning/preservation consultant. 3 credits. Begins March 4.

For more information about the Certificate in Historic Preservation program, visit or contact Dr. Stacey Yap, program coordinator, 603-535-2333,

New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archeological, architectural, engineering and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among the most important environmental assets of the state. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit us online at or by calling (603) 271-3483.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Breaking the record for the sale of art at an auction, an unidentified buyer purchased "Walking Man 1" by Alberto Giacometti (see image at at a Sotheby's auction in London on February 3rd. It sold for $104,327,006. At the same auction a Klimt landscape sold for $43,208,606. The total auction yielded a record high $235.7 million. Add to that a a hearty return from Sotheby's Old Master and 19th Century European Art sale in New York last week and Christie's London sale of impressionist and surreal art totaling $149,607,659 and you have signs that the art market may be gaining traction.