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Saturday, April 13, 2024

UC Scoop

Archaeologists work to uncover peace

Efforts by Ran Boytner, an archaeologist at UCLA, and Swartz Dodd, an archaeologist at USC, could aid the peace process in the Middle East.

The two have led a team, comprised of highly regarded Israeli and Palestinian archaeologists, in creating an agreement as to the disposition of historical artifacts if a Palestinian state is formed.

“Israelis and Palestinians never previously had sat down to achieve a structured balanced agreement to govern the region’s archaeological heritage,” said Dodd in a press release. “Our group got together with the vision of a future when people wouldn’t be at each other’s throats and archaeology would need to be protected, irrespective of which side of the border it falls on.”

International law holds that in the event of the formation of a Palestinian state, Israel would have to return all archaeological artifacts. Because of this, such artifacts could be a sticking point in any future peace process.

“If we can deal with archaeology, we can help create a stable peace process that will be respected by both sides for years to come,” said Boytner in a press release.

The agreement reached by the team should be able to guide negotiators when talks reach that point.

Palestinian archaeologists have said they support the provisions made by the team’s document, which is now on file with all the relevant Middle East peace envoys – the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Some of the provisions include tripling the footprint of the part of Jerusalem that would qualify for special protections as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and supporting the establishment of museums and storehouses so that if a peace agreement is reached, artifact repatriation is not held up by a lack of facilities.

The six prominent archaeologists from the region that agreed to be part of the team may face reprisals for negotiating with their “enemies,” according to experts.

Only two of the team members, Rafi Greenberg, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University, and David Ilan, director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, have chosen to come forward, the rest opting to remain anonymous.

“Even though we are archaeologists, we are peacemakers first,” Boytner said.


Name that species!

For those that already adopted a highway and had a star named after them, there’s another way to get your name out there: marine species.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, a widely regarded institution for marine biology, is now allowing donors to have newly discovered marine species named after them.

The changes come on the heels of budget cuts that have been rising for several years, and consequently the cost of having a marine animal named after you is not cheap. There are currently several species available: a rare hydrothermal vent worm for $50,000, two types of worms found on whale bones for $25,000 and an orange nudibranch for $15,000.

Species are usually named by the person who discovered it. When someone makes a donation to Scripps, they are allowed to have the species named after themselves, a friend or a family member, after which the species is introduced in a scientific journal, toestablish it permanently.

The money gained by Scripps for this service will go toward maintaining the Scripps Oceanographic Collections.

To find out more about being a donor, call the Scripps Development Office at (858) 822-1865 or reach it by e-mail at supportscripps@ucsd.edu.


UC Scoop is compiled by RICHARD PROCTER, who can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.


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