Safeguarding Iran and Afghanistan: On UNESCO’s Efforts in the Field of Archeology

  • Agnès Borde Meyer


People usually associate UNESCO with archeology for only a few events and names, such as the removal of the Abu Simbel temples in Egypt, or the notion of world heritage. Other initiatives and actions, and their impact on archeological activities, are generally lesser known. That is the case for the Asian continent, where the perception of UNESCO’s actions by its various partners, and the definitive impact on their own actions, is something we know little about. When studying the institutional and private papers about archeological missions in Central Asia — in my case in Sistan, a geographical area between Iran and Afghanistan — one can therefore be surprised to see what has taken place and was carried out by UNESCO from the 1940s. I, of course, suspected that the organization’s initiatives and approaches would have had some sort of impact on national institutions dedicated to archeology, and on scholars in the field, from the first inclusion of UNESCO in the Congress of Orientalists in 1948 and up until the events which disturbed the relations between Iran, Afghanistan and the organization in the 1980s — the evolution of the archeological work and institutions was, after all, significant during this period. But the question is to what extent UNESCO took part in its development.


World Heritage Foreign Affair Historical Monument Foreign Scholar Archeological Work 
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© Agnès Borde Meyer 2016

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  • Agnès Borde Meyer

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