Monday, July 27, 2015

Aboutaam on the seized sarcophagi

Ali Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art has commented on the lifting of sequestration of a Phoenician sarcophagus (Laure Lugon Zugravu, "Levée du séquestre pour le sarcophage phénicien", Le Temps July 22, 2015). Aboutaam is reported to have said that the Lebanon has now accepted that the sarcophagus had not been stolen.

This was one of three sarcophagi seized in the Geneva Freeport in 2010.

For earlier comments and video see here.

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Sekhemka statue developments

The BBC is reporting that British Prime Minister David Cameron has been asked to intervene in the Sekhemka statue situation ("Sekhemka statue export: PM David Cameron urged to "intervene"", BBC News July 26, 2015). It looks as if the export restriction is likely to be lifted this week.

A statement has been issued by the Save Sekhemka Action Group.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The so-called Gospel of Jesus' Wife



Professor Steve Walton had a very helpful post on the so-called Gospel of Jesus' Wife. This includes an interview with Dr Simon Gathercole from the University of Cambridge. The video explains the process in identifying the creation of a new document and its corrupting influence.

For some of my earlier comments see here.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The (fictional) Detectorists in Suffolk

Earlier today I attended a meeting of a number of heritage organisations from across the region. Every so often a member of the 'Detectorists' cast wandered outside the windows on their way to make up or catering. Clearly this 'comedy' relating to the search for portable antiquities in Suffolk is preparing for a second series.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Operation Chronos in Essex

The police in Essex have announced the launch of Operation Chronos to combat what is described as nighthawking in the county (Will Lodge, "Essex Police leads national campaign targeting illegal treasure hunters", EADT July 20, 2015).
Assistant Chief Constable Julia Wortley, Essex Police lead on territorial policing, said: “So-called nighthawkers might think they’re no different to people who go metal-detecting for a hobby, but their actions damage the countryside, threaten our heritage and lead to the loss of important and invaluable national artefacts simply to satisfy the greed of a small group of criminals.” 
Pc Andy Long, wildlife, heritage and environmental crime officer at the force, added: “Most people who metal detect as a hobby abide to the law and codes of practice and have a love of the outdoors and history, respecting farmland and other surroundings. 
“Nighthawkers seriously damage that good reputation.”

The article reviews the events surrounding the Twinstead find of gold coins.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Lenborough Hoard

My article, 'Damaging the archaeological record: The Lenborough Hoard', has appeared in the Journal of Art Crime 13 (Spring 2015) 51-57. The article reviews how the coins were removed from their archaeological context and suggests ways to develop stronger guidelines to protect the archaeological heritage of England and Wales.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Looting in Syria

Rachel Shabi has written a carefully researched piece on Syrian antiquities are that are being offered for sale in London ('Looting in Syria - and for sale in the UK', The Guardian Saturday 4 July 2015, 32-33). This builds on earlier observations explored in the BBC Radio 4 File on Four programme.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

From the Koutoulakis Collection

Peter Watson explored the relationship between Giacomo Medici and Nikolas Koutoulakis. Koutoulakis' name also appears in the 'organigram'. So would a potential buyer be nervous if a Greek object was on offer with its stated collecting history ("provenance") as 'from the Koutoulakis collection'?

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Koutoulakis Herm returns to Greece

Source: Hellenic Ministry of Culture
In October 2014 Bonhams offered a Roman herm that it was claimed to have been in the collection of Nicolas Koutoulakis collection in Geneva since 1965. But Glasgow University researcher Dr Christos Tsirogiannis spotted that the head had been offered on the market in the spring of 1987, undermining the collecting history presented in the catalogue.

The head has now been returned to Athens and features in a major press release. Sadly Tsirogiannis' contribution is not acknowledged.

I have written on the issues relating to this herm in the Journal of Art Crime ("Context Matters: Learning from the Herm: The Need for More Rigorous Due Diligence Searches").

This case reminds us of the need to authenticate the documentation used to present collecting histories, and it brings into question the issues relating the due diligence search conducted by Bonhams (and its agents).

It perhaps shows that objects associated with Koutoulakis are not above suspicion. I was recently viewing such an object linked with that individual in a high profile London gallery. What questions should be asked about that piece?

For my earlier discussion of this herm see here.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Journal of Art Crime 2015 (Spring)

The Spring number of the Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney, is now available.

Here is the table of contents for the latest issue of this bi-annual publication listing the archaeological papers that will be of interest to readers of LM:

ACADEMIC ARTICLES

  • Analyzing Criminality in the Market for Ancient Near Eastern Art by Ryan Casey 
  • Damaging the Archaeological Record: The Lenborough Hoard by David Gill
  • “But We Didn’t Steal It:” Collectors’ Justifications for Purchasing Looted Antiquities by Erin L. Thompson 

REGULAR COLUMNS

  • Context Matters “From Palmyra to Mayfair: The Movement of Antiquities from Syria and Northern Iraq” by David Gill 
  • Nekyia “Duplicates and the Antiquities Market” by Christos Tsirogiannis 


EDITORIAL ESSAYS

  • New Archaeological Discoveries and Cultural Ventures beyond War Threats: A Model of Excellence Stemming from Iraqi-Italian Cooperation by Francesca Coccolo 


REVIEWS

  • Cultural Heritage Ethics: Between Theory and Practice Edited by Constantine Sandis Reviewed by Marc Balcells


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