March 26, 1999
Release No. 013-99

CONTACT: Catherine Stearns
PHONE: (202) 401-1190

United States Information Agency- News Release


Washington, D.C. -- The United States Information Agency (USIA) is pleased to announce its new Image Database featuring illustrations of categories of artifacts subject to import restrictions. The URL is Over 500 digital images of archaeological and ethnological items from Peru and Guatemala are online and others will be online in the next few months. Each thumbnail-size image is accompanied by information on type of object, material, period, maker, date of import restriction, description of category subject to import restriction, and descriptive keywords. The images may be searched by keyword.

The photographs from which the digital images are derived were provided by institutions in the countries of origin to enhance the enforcement of import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological and ethnological materials. The materials in the Image Database are not themselves stolen or looted, but rather illustrate the range and types of artifacts that are in jeopardy from looting, pillage, and theft. Law enforcement agents, archaeologists, collectors, curators, students, and others interested in international cultural heritage and the protection of cultural heritage will find the Image Database a valuable tool.

The Image Database is part of the United States' effort, in cooperation with many other countries, to protect cultural heritage globally. USIA, which oversees the U.S. role in protecting international cultural property, is the lead agency in carrying out decision-making responsibilities under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. The Act enables the United States to impose import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological or ethnological material in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property when the pillage of such material places in jeopardy the cultural heritage of the country of origin. USIA also supports the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, appointed by the President, in carrying out its responsibilities under the Act.

United States Information Agency, 301 4th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20547 Tel: (202) 619-4355, Fax: (202) 619-6988

The United States Information Agency, headed by Acting Director Penn Kemble, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

USIA's programs include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Martí, the WORLDNET satellite television system, the daily Washington File newswire, the Fulbright scholarship program, the International Visitor Program, the Speakers and Specialists Program, three Foreign Press Centers in the United States, and a network of overseas resource and cultural centers. The Agency has 190 posts in 141 countries.

The USIA domestic server can be accessed through or through most search engines on the Internet.

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