Notes from Afghanistan: Cultural Heritage Preservation

Dr. Brian Rose in Body Armor in GazniPenn Museum Deputy Director Brian Rose is blogging from Afghanistan this week on the Penn Museum blog. The cultural heritage preservation tour was coordinated by the American Embassy, the Asia Foundation, and the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghazni. Brian will be visiting with cultural heritage officers and local government officials in Kabul and Ghazni (nearly 150 km to the southwest of Kabul.) On day one of his trip, he observed:

"One sees the effects of decades of war in most parts of town—some Afghans even refer to it as the Thirty Years War, beginning with the Soviet invasion in 1978… But there is nevertheless a great sense of hope for the future wherever one looks."

Dr. Rose, no stranger to body armor, was also hosted by the Cultural Heritage Liaison Officer at the American Embassy in Baghdad in April 2009, where he toured the ancient ziggurat at Ur and the newly renovated Iraq National Museum to advise on their historic preservation and archaeological management efforts.

Under the auspices of the AIA, he also leads a cultural heritage training program on the archaeology of Iraq and Afghanistan for US troops deploying to the Middle East. In November, Penn Museum hosted several troops from Fort Dix who were a part of this program and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Near East Collections.

Battleground: War Rugs from AfghanistanBattleground: War Rugs from Afghanistan
April 30 - July 31, 2011

The rug weavers of Afghanistan, long renowned for their artistry, depict on their rugs the world that they see. Like television news, their rugs “report” current events. Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and throughout more than three decades of international and civil war, Afghan weavers have borne witness to disaster by weaving unprecedented images of battle and weaponry into their rugs. Read more


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