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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > December
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 4, 2001


U.S. - Bolivia Agreement Protects Bolivian Archaeological and Ethnological Cultural Property

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Bolivia signed today a Memorandum of Understanding to protect Pre-Columbian archaeological materials and Colonial and Republican ethnological materials from Bolivia. Foreign Minister Gustavo Fernández Saavedra signed for Bolivia and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte L. Beers signed for the United States at a State Department ceremony.

This memorandum of understanding is pursuant to a request from the Government of the Republic of Bolivia under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the protection of cultural property. Consistent with a recommendation of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee that reviewed the request, the United States found the cultural heritage of Bolivia to be in jeopardy from pillage and agreed to impose import restrictions on certain categories of material. Thus, the United States hopes to reduce the incentive to pillage and offer a measure of protection to sites and artifacts important to the understanding of Bolivian culture and preserving traditional religious practices.

U.S. Customs will publish in the Federal Register a list of categories subject to restriction. Restricted archaeological materials range from approximately 10,000 B.C. to A.D. 1532, and include objects comprised of ceramics, textiles and featherwork, metals, stone, shell, human remains, bone, wood and basketry. Restricted ethnological materials range from A.D. 1533 to 1900 (Colonial and Republican Periods), and include 1) objects of indigenous manufacture and ritual use related to the pre-Columbian past, and may include masks, wood, musical instruments, textiles, featherwork, ceramics; and 2) objects used for rituals and religious ceremonies including Colonial religious art, such as paintings and sculpture, reliquaries, altars, altar objects, and liturgical vestments. Illustrations will be posted at http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/database.html.

Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

telephone: (202) 203-5107 or e-mail: cstearns@pd.state.gov.

 


Released on December 4, 2001

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