Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Jordan Seeks U.S. Import Restrictions to Protect Archaeological Heritage

Jordan Asks U.S. for Import Restrictions to Protect Archaeological Heritage from Looting and Smuggling
Petra in southern Jordan is one of the world's
most famous archaeological sites

The State Department has published notice of Jordan's request for cultural property import controls.


Jordan is home to some of the world's most treasured archaeological sites, including Petra, the baptismal site of Jesus at Bethany, and the castle at Quseir Amrahas. To protect its cultural heritage, Jordan now is asking the United States to place restrictions on imports of its endangered artifacts.


The State Department received Jordan's petition on November 26, 2018, but the agency only published notice on January 31, 2019.

Jordan is the latest MENA country (Middle East/North Africa) to seek a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from the U.S. that would safeguard antiquities put at risk by looters and smugglers.

Egypt entered a bilateral agreement in 2016 to erect U.S. import controls under the terms of the CPIA, signing an MoU with the State Department that protects specifically identified ancient Egyptian archaeology dating back to the Predynastic period circa 5200 B.C. through 1517 A.D.

In February 2018, Libya signed an MoU with the U.S. that imposes import restrictions on archaeological artifacts dating between 12,000 B.C. and 1750 A.D. as well as on Ottoman ethnological objects dating from 1551 to 1911 A.D. The adoption of these import barriers followed emergency import controls that the U.S. put in place in December 2017.

The U.S. government erected similar import controls on antiquities from Syria and Iraq, respectively, with the adoption of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (2016) and the Emergency Protection for Iraqi CulturalAntiquities Act (2004).

No date has been set yet for a public hearing on Jordan's request for U.S. import protections, and no information thus far has been released that identifies the specific cultural property in Jordan that is in danger.

Photo credit: Gabor Palla/freeimages.com. Text and original photos copyrighted 2010-2019 by Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire, a blog commenting on matters of cultural property law, art law, art crime, cultural heritage policy, antiquities trafficking, looted, antiquities, stolen relics, smuggled antiquities, illicit antiquities, museum risk management, and archaeology. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission without the express written consent of CHL is strictly prohibited. The materials presented on this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as legal advice applicable to the reader’s specific situation. In addition, the provision of this information to the reader in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship. Blog url: https://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com.