Recent thefts from the Cairo Museum in Egypt and the return of the limestone and marble Goddess to Aidone in Sicily underscore the importance of art and cultural heritage. This summer ARCA (The Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is in Amelia for lectures, a summer program, and an international conference. At the beginning of June, the program convened in Umbria, a small but vibrant town which embraces the program. Umbria and the surrounding countryside are an open-air museum which allows the enjoyment and study of cultural heritage and its protection in a setting and region where the past and its heritage are so integral to daily life.
ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection will run for the third year this summer. Courses include discussion of Art and Antiquities Law and Policy, the History of Art Crime, Art History and the Art World, Art Crime and Organised Crime, Illicit Antiquities, Investigation and Art Insurance, and Museum and Art Security. This year there are nearly thirty students who form a cosmopolitan group. Their background includes the arts, journalism, law, archaeology, teaching, and military service. They come to Amelia from Germany, Spain, Canada, Bermuda, and the United States.
This year ARCA is fortunate to have two writers-in-residence join us. The first is Neil Brodie, an archaeologist and a leading voice in the urge for action to prevent the loss of archaeological context. The other is Lawrence Rothfield, an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Department of English and co-founder of its Cultural Policy Center. He authored The Rape of Mesopotamia (University of Chicago Press, 2009), which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the causes for the failure of U.S. forces to secure the Iraq National Museum and protect the country's archaeological sites from looters in the wake of the 2003 invasion.