Wednesday, April 9, 2008
An Important Agreement
Plan brokered by UCLA, USC archaeologists would remove roadblock to Mideast peace April 8, 2008 Negotiations lead to first agreement on region's archaeological riches Israelis and Palestinians may not be able to agree right now on their present or future, but, if a pair of Los Angeles archaeologists have their way, they soon will see eye to eye on their past. Working tirelessly for the past five years, Ran Boytner, a University of California, Los Angeles archaeologist and Lynn Swartz Dodd, an archaeologist at the University of Southern California, have guided a team of prominent Israeli and Palestinian archaeologists to arrive at the first-ever agreement on the disposition of the region's archaeological treasures following the establishment of a future Palestinian state. "Israelis and Palestinians never previously had sat down to achieve a structured, balanced agreement to govern the region's archaeological heritage," said Dodd, a lecturer in religion and curator of USC's Archaeological Research Collection. "Our group got together with the vision of a future when people wouldn't be at each other's throats and archaeology would need to be protected, irrespective of which side of the border it falls on." With dozens of high-ranking Israeli, Palestinian, U.S. and international statesmen and Palestinian archaeologists already aware of the Israeli-Palestinian Archaeology Working Group Agreement, the 39-point document now faces its toughest audience: Israeli archaeologists whose country would cede control over tens of thousands of artifacts and hundreds of sites. "We're talking about putting your precious archaeological heritage — things you believe your ancestors created — in the hands of what you now consider to be your enemy," Dodd said. "We're asking enemies to become partners."