Archaeology in the Context of War: Legal Frameworks for Protecting Cultural Heritage during Armed Conflict

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2009


International law provides for a framework for protecting cultural heritage during armed conflict and for punishing those who transgress these principles. If understood within its limitations of dependence on state ratification and enforcement, international law protects cultural heritage by providing guidelines to those who wish to conform and by punishing after the fact those who deliberately destroy cultural heritage. Recent movement toward ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its protocols by the major military powers should afford greater protection to cultural heritage in future conflicts.