Nancy Hatch Dupree (October 3, 1927 – September 10, 2017) was an American historian whose work primarily focused on the history of modern Afghanistan.

Nancy Dupree in 2012


  • Afghanistan never did have any monuments on the world heritage list. As far as I know, nine different monuments have been nominated over time for inclusion on the world heritage list. The world heritage committee just opened their meeting for this year, and there is one Afghan monument, the minaret at Jam, being considered this time. Because of the sympathy and the general feeling about Afghanistan these days, people seem to think it has a good chance of being put on the list. But the reason the nine others never got on the list was because the government of Afghanistan could not fulfill the requirements for their protection.
    • Preserving Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage: An Interview with Nancy Hatch Dupree [1]
  • Dupree’s analysis clearly suggests that ‘the museum was not plundered by rampaging gangs of illiterate Mujahideen’.
    The looters in 1993 were discriminating in what they took and apparently had both the time and the knowledge to select the most attractive, saleable pieces. For example, they removed from wooden display mounts only the central figures (depicting voluptuous ladies standing in doorways) of the delicate Begram ivory carvings. It is also telling that although some 2000 books and journals remain in the library, volumes with illustrations of the museum's best pieces are missing.
    • —Nancy Dupree 1996 : 46 quoted in Dilip K. Chakrabarti - Archaeology in the Third World, A History of Indian Archaeology Since 1947. (2003) [2]
  • While I have seen a few museum pieces for sale in Afghanistan, there are a number of artifacts on the market that have recently been dug up in Afghanistan. Mujaheedin commanders in all parts of the country are involved in this illicit activity, most notably in the east near the Hadda museum. An important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the second through seventh centuries, Hadda has been totally stripped of its exquisite clay sculptures in the Gandhara style, which combines Bactrian, Greco-Roman, and Indian elements. Looted artifacts from Faryab and Balkh provinces in the north allegedly include jewel- encrusted golden crowns and statues, orbs (locally described as ‘soccer balls’) studded with emeralds and all manner of exotic ephemera, as well as fluted marble columns similar to those found at Ai Khanoum in the northeastern province of Takhar. These are being carted away to embellish the houses of the newly powerful, according to witnesses.
    • Nancy Dupree, 1996, quoted in Dilip K. Chakrabarti - Archaeology in the Third World, A History of Indian Archaeology Since 1947. (2003) [3]
  • You have to remember that the items that have been stolen from the Museum or have been plundered, are not owned by only one person and usually not only by Afghans. It is usually one or two Afghans with five or six Pakistani partners. And the underground stolen art business in Pakistan is just as well organised and it is just as dangerous as the drug business. In fact, I have heard some people say that as far as the end-result is concerned, it’s even more profitable than drugs.
    • Nancy Dupree 2000 quoted in Dilip K. Chakrabarti - Archaeology in the Third World, A History of Indian Archaeology Since 1947. (2003) [4]
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