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Modern-day ‘Monuments Woman’ talks about saving treasures in war-torn Near East

NEWPORT, R.I. – Modern-day ‘Monuments Woman’ Laura Tedesco, an archeologist working in many war-torn areas of the Near East, particularly Afghanistan, as a representative of the U.S. State Department, will discuss her experiences in the field and the importance of cultural and historic preservation in U.S. diplomacy when she presents a public lecture at Salve Regina University on Thursday, April 10.

Free and open to the public, Tedesco’s lecture will be given at 5 p.m. in the Alletta Morris McBean Lecture Hall (Room 107) of the Antone Academic Center on Lawrence Avenue. Her talk is being presented by the Noreen Stonor Drexel Cultural and Historic Preservation Program.

Tedesco, cultural heritage program manager with the Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs, is tasked with identifying, protecting and preserving important cultural heritage sites, archaeological sites and monuments. Her work has been focused in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and a number of former Soviet republics.

Among Tedesco’s significant projects are the excavation and cataloging at Mes Aynak, the “Silk Road” site of the world’s second largest copper deposit, and the expansion of the National Museum in Kabul, Afghanistan. The museum was shelled and looted in 1993 during the civil war, and many of its objects were stolen or destroyed.

Tedesco holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University, where her area of study included the Near East and Central Asia. Before joining the State Department, she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. With more than 18 years of experience in archaeology and cultural resource management, she has conducted field research in the Republics of Georgia and Armenia, as well as in Syria and other nations in western and south Asia.