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Treasures of the past

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-05 08:37

Shan Jixiang, former director of the Palace Museum, speaks about institutions' cross-border cooperation at the forum.[Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Huang Yang, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, and Despina Zernioti, director of the Corfu Museum of Asian Art in Greece, says they analyzed the shared social values of ancient Chinese and Greek people in the infancies of the respective civilizations.

According to M. Wali Ullah, director of the directorate of archaeology and museum in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, all major early civilizations in the world relied on agriculture and had large-scale urban construction and developed belief systems. Nevertheless, each featured its own characteristics.

"It's a philosophical approach to look for similarities among ancient civilizations, and many new perspectives have emerged as a result of the discussions," says Guo Xiaoling, director of the academic committee of the Capital Museum in Beijing, who hosted a panel discussion at the symposium.

"Each scholar is an expert in their own field, but each one also has limitations in their maps of knowledge. That's why this exchange of ideas matters," Guo says.

Cross-border studies not only benefit academia but also contribute to society as a whole.

Chankillo, the 2,300-year-old remains of an observatory in Peru, has been nominated by the country for entry into the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2020.

Ivan Ghezzi, director of the site's archeological project, did comparative studies between Chankillo and the Chinese ruins of Taosi, where a 4,000-year-old observatory was unearthed, and says he expects such studies will add value to the bid.

Some delegates at the symposium also spoke of the urgency of joint efforts to fight the theft and illegal trade of cultural relics, and to better protect heritage.

"Cultural heritage is threatened by many things, the most dangerous of which is its conversion into a commodity," says Hany al-Tayep, supervisor of the scientific office of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

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