Wars and Art: Antiquities and Local Cultural Artifacts Protection during Military Operations

Wars and Art: Antiquities and Local Cultural Artifacts Protection during Military Operations

Dr. Laurie W. Rush, US Dept of Defense
February 12, 2017

Wars and Art are not compatible. When armies march, guns thunder, and bombs fall, cultural artifacts get in the way or can be held as hostages, resulting in their destruction. Today genocidal conflict rages in the Middle East, a region that contains some of humankind’s most important monuments, collections, heritage sites and sacred structures, putting these treasures at risk of becoming “collateral damage” or the victims of deliberate vandalism. The situation is dire, but there is also hope. NATO allies and partner nations are finding common ground in identifying and protecting cultural treasures. They are learning ways how this goal can be achieved while not hindering military mission success. Military leaders are turning to historical examples of saving property in time of war, and preservation professionals who work with the military are finding receptive partners in this laudable effort.  Dr. Laurie Rush, an anthropologist and archeologist, has worked with the US military for almost two decades, educating deploying soldiers about cultural property protection during military operations, and representing the US DOD for heritage issues in Kabul and across the Middle East.

Dr. Laurie W. Rush is an Anthropologist and Archaeologist who has lived, worked and studied in northern New York for over thirty years.  Her area of research focuses on the ancestors of the Native Americans of northeastern North America.  She has a BA from Indiana University Bloomington, an MA and PhD from Northwestern University, and is a fellow of the National Science Foundation and the American Academy in Rome. Dr. Rush was the military liaison for return of Ur to the Iraqi People and has represented the US DoD for heritage issues in Kabul and across the Middle East.  She is a Board Member of the US Committee of the Blue Shield, has won numerous awards, and lectures and publishes internationally.  Dr. Rush is profiled in “Lives in Ruins” and is co-author of the new book, “The Carabinieri TPC; Saving the World’s Heritage”.

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