Cultural Heritage: An Overview

Who owns the ancient treasures of the world? This show will cover the scholarly and cultural issues involved in the cultural heritage debates.

Who owns the ancient treasures of the world? Ancestors of the civilization that created the objects, ancestors of the civilization that inherited them, the government of modern source nations, art dealers who purchase them or the archaeologists who dug them up? Contested artifacts are an age-old debate, but the stakes have never been higher.  It is a topic where culture, history, identity, religion and money intersect.

Week 1: The Issues

David Freidel, professor of Archaeology, explains terms such as "patrimony" and tackles the question of why non-specialists should care about the question of cultural heritage.  In "The Curator's Dilemma," Matthew Robb gives an introduction to the issues from the perspective of a museum professional. (12-16 March)

Week 2: Points of View

No one disputes the value of ancient objects when they are made of gold and precious jewels. But what about the thousand-year-old remains of everyday life? And how do you put a fence around miles of ancient rock art? Archaeologist Michael Frachetti speaks to the issue of preserving these forms of cultural heritage and his research in central Asia. Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, talks about cultural heritage, the role of art museums in preserving and communicating culture, and the opportunities and challenges she sees ahead. (19-23 March)

Week 3: The Conversation

Moderator Carol Epstein sits down with David Freidel, Michael Frachetti and Matthew Robb to discuss the issue of cultural heritage and why it matters. (26 March)