Illicit trafficking in antiquities is a worldwide phenomenon and is the scourge of archaeology. In times of political crisis and economic stress, as witnessed in Syria over the last four years, illegal excavations and theft are daily occurrences, and have in-fact gained a semi-professional dimension as demonstrated on various websites. While intermediaries are sometimes known, the final recipients of illicitly trafficked antiquities remain anonymous.
The cultural heritage of Syria is being plundered, a situation which is currently impossible to prevent. However, when reconstruction begins it will be essential to be able to identify cultural items that may appear up on international markets. Therefore s h i r ī n seeks to support actively the establishment of inventories of relevant sites, buildings, museums – in short all places of cultural interest – within Syria, in cooperation with Syrian authorities, international bodies and other NGOs.
s h i r ī n will try to curb illicit trafficking in Syrian antiquities at all possible levels. To realize these ambitious aims s h i r ī n relies on an exceptional body of experts, experienced archaeologists, and technical staff who have a high level competence in the identification of provenance, down to regional or even site level. Accordingly s h i r ī n will respond to requests for information and assistance from legal authorities, and will support the enforcement of national and international law.