Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt signed on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding that renews protections for Greek cultural property.
This renewal “is an example of the United States’ enduring commitment to work with Greece to combat cultural property trafficking and to preserve heritage items,” the US embassy said in a press release.
The agreement continues US import restrictions on certain archaeological material originating in Greece ranging in date from approximately 20,000 B.C. to the 15th century AD. The renewed MoU also extends import restrictions on ecclesiastical ethnological material ranging in date from approximately the 4th century AD to 1830.
“Greece has a long cultural heritage. From the beginning of its existence as a State, it has faced systematic looting and dispersal of its archaeological treasures,” said Mendoni.
“The United States of America and cities of Western Europe were and are important markets for the illegally traded cultural artifacts of Greece. This is evidenced by the large number of auctions of Greek cultural objects in their territories. For this reason, it is extremely important not only the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding but also the extension of its scope to include in its protective provisions specific categories of ecclesiastical and ethnological objects dating back to 1830,” she added.
“The timing of this renewal could not be more fitting, as Greece celebrates 200 years of independence, and as we mark two centuries of friendship and alliance between our countries,” said Ambassador Pyatt.
“By renewing this agreement, we will continue to ensure the protection of Greece’s world-renowned cultural heritage. The United States is firmly committed to the protection of these treasures from looting and trafficking.”