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We're wiping out history.

A TYNESIDE expert has warned major parts of human history could be wiped out unless steps are taken to protect heritage sites in war zones.

Peter Stone, professor of heritage studies at Newcastle University, voiced his concerns ahead of the opening of an exhibition he has organised to draw attention to the destruction of archaeological sites in Iraq.

The display, called Catastrophe: The looting and destruction of Iraq's past, is being shown for the first time at Newcastle University's Hatton Gallery from Saturday.

The exhibition will then tour the UK and Europe.

Prof Stone says focusing attention on the destruction of cultural heritage is of particular relevance at this time, as a Draft Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill is currently before Parliament.

He said: "Archaeological sites around the world are under threat from looters who feed the illicit art market. It is critical that Parliament passes the Bill as it will enable the UK to sign Unesco's 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.

"The convention requires countries to take cultural heritage into account when they are planning for military campaigns, perhaps either by training archaeologists to serve with the military, or by training military personnel to be aware of cultural heritage."

Prof Stone will be at the Hatton Gallery between 7pm and 8pm on Saturday to answer questions.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 14, 2008
Words:227
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