Showing posts with label 2012 ARCA Award nominations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 ARCA Award nominations. Show all posts

January 20, 2016

Confirmation Saint Elijah's Monastery (دير مار إيليا), Iraq, Destroyed


Following a request by the Associated Press earlier this month, Digital Globe, a global provider of high-resolution Earth-imagery products and services, provided the news service with imagery which appears to confirm that the monastery known in English as the Saint Elijah Monastery or the Dair Mar Elia, ((دير مار إيليا) has been obliterated by ISIS/ISIL sometime prior to September 28, 2014.  It was the oldest known Christian monastery in Iraq.  

The oldest monastery in Iraq dated back 1400 ago.
 أقدم دير في العراق يعود تاريحه الى ١٤٠٠ سنة
Nearby cities: Mosul, Erbil / Hewler, Kirkûk
Coordinates:   36°17'33"N   43°7'51"E
Image Credit AP/Digital Globe/Google

Located on a hill south of Mosul, local Chaldean leaders place the monastery's age back to the fourth century after Christ.  Other evidence indicates that the original monastery on this site was built around 571 CE during the reign of the Persian King Hurmizd IV.  Assuming that this date is accurate, the monastery predates the founding of Islam by about one hundred years.  

Imagery obtained for comparison by AP before and after compared with earlier amateur videos shot by US military personnel during cultural awareness site visits seem to suggest that the monastery has either been bulldozed completely or detonated to the ground level.

Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, said “such deliberate destruction is a war crime and it must not stay unpunished. It also reminds us how terrified by history the extremists are, because understanding the past undermines the pretexts they use to justify these crimes and exposes them as expressions of pure hatred and ignorance.”

But this ultimate final insult by ISIL/ISIS is not the only hardship Saint Elijah Monastery has faced. 

During the 2003 Iraqi conflict, Iraqi tank units damaged rooms and reportedly filled the ancient cistern with trash while using it as a latrine. 

In this first video, apparently made during a US forces visit after taking control of the site, viewers can hear a military guide giving touring soldiers from Forward Operating Base Marez a lecture on the significance of the religious site and why it was later fenced off to protect the site against looters and further degradation.  After that, soldiers were only allowed to visit the site when accompanied by military chaplains or designated military guides.


In this first video the speaker talks about not only the Christian iconography but also the damage the site sustained as a result of a US-Iraqi skirmish with the Iraqi Republican Guard during the initial invasion in 2003.  The officer mentions a U.S. Army anti-tank missile fired by the 101st Airborne at an Iraqi tank unit that was stationed in and around the religious site during the military engagement.  

The tow missile, fired by the US modular light infantry division towards a military target, damaged the ancient chapel's wall when the missile blasted the turret off a T-72 Russian tank.  The impact catapulted the turret into the side of the monastery, buckling the historic site's wall and creating many large cracks and fissures.



Other damages however were not directly related to this armed engagement, but instead were opportunistic offences and carelessness when the 101st were themselves garrisoned at the site.

Soldiers attached to the 101st painted their division's 'Screaming Eagle' logo above the chapel's doorway and also white-washed the stone alter and chapel walls, covering what is believed to have been the remnants of 600-year-old murals.  To add insult to injury, 'Chad wuz here' and 'I love Debbie,' were also found scribbled onto other monastery surfaces along with older graffiti in Arabic and bullet holes. 

Some 250 years earlier, the monastery was nearly flattened by a Persian ruler who also ordered the monks living there to be slain.

Prior to its destruction by ISIS/ISIL the site consisted of 27 rooms and included a mihrab, a temple and a cistern.  Experts from the University of Mosul were scheduled to survey the grounds in 2008 but because of the volatility of the political situation at the time, a team of soldiers from current and former U.S. Army Europe engineer units (the 156th) were tasked to carry out the work as part of a mission in July 2008. The data collected was to be used in Army and civilian maps detailing the area of the monastery, as well as archeological excavations and geographic expeditions.

The 156th also created a three-dimensional model of the site based on their survey data to aid scientists studying the possible purpose of crumbling rooms in the monastery.

Perhaps this model will be of use to scholars going forward. 


April 13, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012 - , 2 comments

Kenya's Dr. George H. O. Abungu Wins 2012 ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art

ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at) artcrimeresearch.org.

ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art
Past winners: Carabinieri TPC (2009), Howard Spiegler (2010), John Merryman (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Matthew Bogdanos, Mark Dalrymple, Maurizio Seracini, Sandy Nairne
2012 winner: George H. O. Abungu

Dr. Abungu, a native of Kenya, has served as Chairman of the International Standing Committee on the Traffic of Illicit Antiquities since 1999, and as Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya from 1999-2002.  Among his many projects, he was involved in the return to Kenya of looted Vigango (grave markers).

Dr. Abungu has over 60 publications in the disciplines of archaeology, heritage management, and museology, culture and development and has championed the role of the arts and its respect and protection in many of his publications, public forums and in his works as a museum professional, scholar and administrator.

He has been an advisor to the Aluka project of the Mellon Foundation, the Global Heritage Fund, and is Vice President of International Council of Museums (ICOM), a Member of the International Jury of the UNESCO Melina Mecouri International Prize for Safeguard and Management of Cultural Landscapes and Board member for TARA, the Trust for African Rock Art, among others. He has sat on the World Monuments Watch panel and was Kenya’s Representative to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and Vice-President of its Bureau (2004-2009).

He is awarded for his long-term efforts to secure the cultural heritage of Kenya and other African nations.

April 9, 2012

Karl von Habsburg and Dr. Joris Kila Jointly Win 2012 ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security

Joris Kila (right) in Tripoli on 29 September
ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at) artcrimeresearch.org.

ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security
Past winners: Francesco Rutelli (2009), Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Matthew Bogdanos, Laurie Rush
2012 joint winners: Karl von Habsburg and Joris Kila

Karl von Habsburg is president of the Association of National Committees of the BlueShield and, jointly with Dr. Joris Kila, he runs the International MilitaryCultural Resources Work Group.

Habsburg is a former member of the European Parliament for Austria, and has specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection. A former air force pilot, he still serves in the reserve of the Austrian armed forces as a key Cultural Property Protection Officer. He is vice president of the Austrian Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and a founder of Blue Shield Austria. In addition to being a frequent lecturer, he is an author of several publications on the subject of Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection and Military Cultural Property Protection and has carried out multiple documentation missions in conflict zones.

Kila is chairman of the International Military Cultural Resources Work Group. He is a researcher at the Institute of Culture and History of the University ofAmsterdam, and a board member for civil-military relations with the WorldAssociation for the Protection of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage inTimes of Armed Conflict (WATCH), based in Rome. Additionally, he serves as a community fellow of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, is a member of the US Commands Cultural Historical Action Group and is Chair of the International Cultural Resources Working Group. Until recently he served as network manager and acting chairman of the cultural affairs dept. at the Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Group North in the Netherlands.  In that capacity he undertook several cultural rescue missions in Iraq and FYROM (Macedonia).

Habsburg and Kila are jointly awarded for their long-term service to the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.

February 19, 2012

ARCA Announces Nominees for 2012 Awards to be Presented at the International Art Crime Conference in Amelia in June

For the past three years, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) has recognized the professional contributions of four people for the protection of art and cultural property at its International Art Crime Conference in Amelia, the home of the postgraduate certificate program. This month ARCA's Trustees and the Editorial Board of The Journal of Art Crime will again vote for the winners or four awards.

The Award for Art Policing and Recovery (which usually goes to a police officer, investigator, or lawyer). This award has been given to former Director of Scotland Yard's Arts and Antiquities Squad  Vernon Rapley (2009), former Scotland Yard investigator Charlie Hill (2010), and former Italian State prosecutor Paolo Giorgio Ferri (2011). The 2012 nominees for the award for Art Policing and Recovering are Don Hyrycyk, Los Angeles Police Department; Alain Lacoursière, founder of Quebec's Art Theft Squad; Sharon Cohen Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York; Maurizio Seracini, art historian and scientist searching for Leonardo da Vinci's lost "Battle of the Anghiari" in Florence; and Christos Tsirogiannis, Archaeologist, Illicit antiquities researcher at the University of Cambridge.

The Award for Art Protection and Security (usually goes to a security director or policy-maker); this award has acknowledged the work of former mayor of Rome Francesco Rutelli (2009); Dick Drent, security director of Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, (2010); and archaeologist Lord Colin Renfrew (2011). The 2012 nominees for this award are Colonel Mathew Bogdanos, United States Marine Corps Reserves, Senior Investigative Counsel, Assistant District Attorney, New York; Dr. Laurie Rush, manager of the Fort Drum Cultural Resources Program; and (jointly) Karl von Habsburg, President, Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield and Dr. Joris Kila, Chairman, International Military Cultural Resources Work Group.  

The Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Excellence in Art Crime Scholarship (to a professor or author). Past winners include Norman Palmer (2009); Larry Rothfield (2010); and Neil Brodie (2011). This year's nominees are Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino for their book, Chasing Aphrodite; Fabio Isman, Journalist Il Messaggero, Italy; Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery of London and author of Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners.

The Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art Award (given to an individual or institution in recognition of many decades of excellence in the field) has been conferred to the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage collectively (2009); attorney Howard Spiegler (2010); and cultural property expert John Henry Merryman (2011). This year's nominees are Dr. George Okello Abungu; Colonel Mathew Bogdanos; Mark Dalrymple, Managing Director of Loss Adjuster at Tyler & Co. (Adjusters) Ltd.; Sandy Nairne; and Maurizio Seracini.

The awards will be presented to the winners at the International Art Crime Conference on June 23 and 24 in Amelia, Umbria, Italy.