At the time of this writing the self-styled Caliphate created by Islamic State six years ago in Syria and Iraq has been reduced to little more than a square mile of bombed out rubble. During IS’ heyday much was made in the western press of a supposed systematic trade in antiquities looted by IS operatives… Read More As the IS “Caliphate” disappears, time to revisit larger issues of the illicit antiquities trade
Recent news reports out of the City of Paphos, Cyprus describe a clash between the Mayor of Paphos on the one hand and the Cyprus antiquities department and its local Museum in Paphos on the other, with official pronouncements, competing press conferences and plenty of mudslinging. The Mayor indirectly accuses staff at the Museum and… Read More Bizarre antiquities-related political feud erupts on Cyprus
A ruling by Israel’s high court, supported by the Israel Antiquities Authority, now requires all dealers to document every object in their inventory online with a description, including provenance, and a photograph. While this may at first sound sensible, it is important to point out that much of the trade in Israel is in very… Read More Israeli high court: antiquities dealers must document all artefacts online
A few proposals floated in the final months of 2015 offered rational, practical options for saving antiquities and ancient monuments.… Read More Rational Proposals for Safeguarding Antiquities – But Will Anyone Act?
This link to the story on the BBC opens in a new tab or window – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33369701 The destruction of these relatively small but quite valuable and easily smuggled Palmyrene sculptures would seem to contradict (unsubstantiated) claims that ISIL is smuggling artifacts. In any event, their destruction is a terrible loss.
With Islamic State on the rampage, and other groups swearing allegiance to them in Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, Yemen and Afghanistan, the threat to ancient heritage is greater than ever, and the debate over whether or not to return antiquities, looted or legally exported, to the modern nation states where they were discovered is fiercer than ever.… Read More Making Matters Worse? The Debate Over “Repatriating” Antiquities to Failed States in the Middle East