Almost every society, whether ancient or modern, chooses its cultural heritage, including the arts and architecture. While some works of cultural heritage are highly objectionable or immoral, others are not. In some cases, cultural heritage is the product of a selection process, as in the case of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Advocates of cultural integrity are also accused of making erroneous assumptions about certain cultures. But the fact remains that most of the world’s cultural assets are well worth preserving.
During armed conflict, destruction of cultural heritage has increased. This destruction often coincides with organized looting and illicit trade. In some cases, it is also linked to persecution of individuals or communities. In some cases, it even represents a war crime. Underwater cultural heritage, for example, includes underwater monuments and artifacts. Shipwrecks and other forms of underwater culture are also important examples of heritage. However, these kinds of cultural assets are often destroyed by warring parties or governments for profit.
The 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Oceans prohibits the export and unauthorized import of cultural objects. However, it does not solve the title issues between State, community, and private individuals over cultural property. The 1970 Convention was amended in 2013 to include these items, and the Dutch Heritage Act includes provisions implementing it. The Netherlands, however, has not ratified the Convention. This may be because the Dutch government is not aware of the extent of the cultural heritage problem.
Moreover, human rights courts may not recognize the existence of lost cultural property if it is no longer in existence. This makes it difficult for them to uphold human rights when it comes to preserving lost cultural property. If this is the case, it may be prudent to establish a heritage title. In addition to providing legal protection for cultural objects, heritage titles are also an important step in ensuring the long-term survival and maintenance of our civilization.
Moreover, cultural objects are a property of humanity and deserve protection, particularly in times of war. Often, the interests of a single individual or group may preclude new owners from reclaiming it. As such, cultural heritage is an important part of international and human security. But, protecting cultural objects does not guarantee cultural protection. Instead, it can make the difference between a peaceful coexistence between nations. You can help protect cultural objects by ensuring that they remain in the hands of the next generation.
For example, the United States government has protected many important archaeological sites in the past several decades, including the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Pennsylvania. The ICE seized artifacts in three investigations. The artifacts were stolen from protected archeological sites in Peru. Some of them were allegedly intended for personal collections or for profit. Artifacts recovered from these investigations range from 100 A.D. to 1,530 A.D., from the Mochica, Chimu, and Chancay cultures. A rare mother-of-pearl knife was among the relics recovered by ICE, as were gold ornaments, copper pins, pottery, textile fragments, and more.