Category Archives: Human Rights

Mapping Cultural Heritage in Danger

St. Elijah's Monastery in Iraq. The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, recently destroyed by ISIS.

St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq. The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, recently destroyed by ISIS.

In our post series “Maps: Defining and Explaining our Past, Present and Future,” we discuss how important maps can be in helping us to visualize and understand where we’ve been and where we’re going. Today, maps are helping us to keep track of our vanishing past. Sadly, every day we are losing pieces of our history. Specifically, the cradle of civilization is being systematically destroyed. The Antiquities Coalition has taken action and created the Culture Under Threat Map, “which tracks instances of deliberate targeting of cultural heritage for destruction in the Middle East and North Africa.”

According to the Antiquities Coalition website: Continue reading

The Slavery Project: Bringing the Past Alive With 3D Printing

The Slavery Project

Bernard Means

Bernard Means

Today’s technologies can bedazzle the mind and senses. One of the most amazing has been the development of 3D printing. For those of us intrigued with past lives, 3D printing allows us a unique intimacy with those who have gone before. Being able to hold the model of an artifact in hand, to realize how hundreds, even thousands of years ago, other hands similarly grasped this object, is profoundly moving. This is a vital component of The Slavery Project–to immerse ourselves in the past and to feel the humanity of those lost to enslavement. Not necessarily an experience easily had, but one of critical insight, especially for young people. And this is our hope for the legacy we hand the generations that follow. That through those painful memories of slavery can arise a global will, a new world of our collective creation, where human bondage is itself a thing of the past. Continue reading

AntiquityNOW Launches The Slavery Project With an Exploration of the Triangular Trade

The Slavery Project

Sunday, December 6, was the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in the United States. This was a landmark ruling effectively changing forever the way in which the United States recognized and valued its people. For millions of former slaves, it was the difference between being seen as property and the recognition of personhood and all that it conferred.  The “peculiar institution”[1] had been a stain on the history of Great Britain and the United States in the early years of colonization. As abolition sentiments arose in the North and as the expansion west threatened the slave v. non-slave states calculus, slavery devolved into a sectional dispute. The South had built an economy based upon slave labor and abolition was vehemently opposed. The Civil War may have politically settled the question of slavery’s abolition, but the social and political fallout were profound. Inarguably, the currents of slavery have run deep in American life and its consequences are felt even today. Continue reading

Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery

13th amendment with text copy

The text is as follows:

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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Also, COMING SOON!! The launch of The Slavery Project by AntiquityNOW. Stay tuned to our blog for more information about this important new educational project.

The Slavery Project Presented at the National Council for the Social Studies in New Orleans

NCSSThe Big Easy is hosting the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conference this week, and AntiquityNOW will be presenting The Slavery Project (TSP) at one of the sessions.

Shirley K. Gazsi, president of AntiquityNOW, and Bernard Means, PhD., director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University, will be speaking about the series of curricula looking at the ancient and tragic history of slavery. Continue reading

Khaled al-Asaad and the Price of Memory

AN Forum

The murder by ISIS of Khaled al-Asaad, 82, a renowned Syrian archaeologist and scholar, was a heinous act. His death is a blow to Syria and the world’s cultural heritage.

Tadmor, Syria: the scene of the theater of Palmyra

Tadmor, Syria: the scene of the theater of Palmyra

What possesses a person to cleave so to an ideal that he would give up his own life? As social media spread the details of Asaad’s death, there was sincere horror and disgust at the price of his refusal to disclose where Palmyra’s antiquities had been hidden. Asaad, with more than 50 years as head of antiquities in Palmyra, along with other officials, had spirited away many of the artifacts that undoubtedly would have ended up being sold on the black market, fetching the high prices that fuel ISIS’ activities. Continue reading

The Slavery Project Part 3: In the Eye of the Beholder

La_Rochelle_slave_ship_Le_Saphir_1741As we discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of In the Eye of the Beholder, The Slavery Project (TSP) is an ongoing, interactive series of modules that incorporates lesson plans along select historical plot lines detailing slavery in a particular society during a specific period.  TSP is designed to provide students an immersive experience where a culture is explored according to the social, cultural, political and economic conditions of the time. Continue reading

“Is it Time to Rethink Our Ideas About Preserving World Heritage?” A Provocative Question in Dire Times

AN Forum

The Financial Times’ recent article, “Is It Time to Rethink Our Ideas About Preserving World Heritage?” by Jonathan Foyle, explores whether in the face of the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage from natural disasters and “human aggression, theft and errors of judgment,” new ways of preserving our heritage should be sought. Continue reading

Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 8, “Betty’s Hope”

StrataImage-web“Betty’s Hope,” the latest entry in the video news-magazine series Strata: Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute, considers what we learn about past lives when we peel back the layers of history. Sugar plantations were incredibly important to the New World’s trade and expansion, and gave rise to certain political, social and economic institutions that we may find unusual or even repulsive today. The Caribbean island of Antigua sat at the crossroads of the first transatlantic economy.  This documentary is about how a sugar plantation, called Betty’s Hope, was started in 1650 during colonial rule and gave many Antiguans economic support.  This plantation was owned by Sir Christopher Codrington, the governor of the Leeward Islands, and lasted from 1674 to 1944.  Today, the plantation is no longer operational and archaeologists use meticulous methods to uncover stories that would otherwise be silent forever. Strata: Portraits of Humanity is a monthly half-hour video series available online and on select cable channels. Strata is a showcase for unique and diverse stories about the world’s cultural heritage. Stories come from across the globe with segments produced by Archaeological Legacy Institute and dozens of producer and distributor partners around the world. Click on the image below to view the program on The Archaeology Channel and scroll down to see the curriculum developed by AntiquityNOW to accompany this episode’s video. Continue reading

The Slavery Project Part 1: In the Eye of the Beholder

Roman collared slaves. Marble relief, from Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey), 200 CE. Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

Roman collared slaves. Marble relief, from Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey), 200 CE.
Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

Slavery has been part of the human condition for centuries.  Although largely outlawed in modern times, human bondage still exists today in various forms, including sexual trafficking, domestic servitude and illegal work conditions. Why has slavery been an accepted part of numerous civilizations through time? Why does slavery continue to exist today in various forms around the world? Continue reading