While archaeological sites from China to Peru are being destroyed by looters in search of saleable antiquities, those charged with custodianship of the past are locked in fierce debate.
Archaeologists, leaders of cultural heritage organizations, and ministers of culture, dealers, collectors, curators, and museum directors cannot come to terms. Who is responsible for preserving cultural heritage?
Joel Allen is Professor of Classics and History at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Lawrence Coben is an archaeologist affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, where he has received an M.A. and is completing a doctorate in Anthropology. He was most recently the director of Proyecto Inkallakta, a multidisciplinary project at the monumental Inka site of that name in Bolivia.
He has also conducted research and surveys in the Carabaya and Lake Titicaca regions of Peru. He co-edited Archaeology of Performance: Theater, Power and Community(2006), a seminal study of the nature and political implications of theatrical performance at public events in ancient societies. He is also the author of several papers and articles on the Inka, the use of space, the role of performance and spectacle in ancient societies, the use of digital reconstruction and virtual reality in archaeology and the role of local museums in archaeological study and preservation.
Mr. Coben serves as Executive Director of the Sustainable Preservation Initiative, which utilizes local sustainable economic development to preserve archaeological sites around the world. He is also a member of the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America. Mr. Coben was co-chairman of the Lieberman for President 2004 National Energy Policy Committee, which devised a plan (the Declaration of Energy Independence) to reduce American dependence on politically unstable sources of energy, and is a member of the Cleantech for Obama Steering Committee and the Department of Homeland Security's Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force. He serves and has served on numerous for profit boards, including NRG Energy and SAESA (Chilean utility), as well as not for profit boards, such as Citizen Schools in New York. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the newly founded Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy at Yale University from 2006-2007 and as President of the Board of Directors of New York Stage and Film, a not for profit theater company from 1995-2003.
Mr. Coben received a B.A. in economics from Yale University and a J.D from Harvard Law School.
James Cuno (Ph.D. 1985, Harvard) is the President and Eloise W. Martin Director of The Art Insitute of Chicago. Prior to that, he was Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums and Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard (1991-2003). James Cuno has written and lectured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe , and Japan on topics ranging from French caricature of the 18th and 19th centuries to contemporary American Art, as well as on the role of art museums in contemporary American cultural policy.
His most recent work on the latter topic is the book Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public's Trust (Princeton University Press, 2003), for which he served as editor and author of the introduction and an essay.
Lawrence Rothfield is the former director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago and associate professor of English and comparative literature.
He is the author of Vital Signs: Medical Realism in Nineteenth-Century Fiction and the editor of Unsettling "Sensation": Arts Policy Lessons from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War.