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
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
To raise much needed revenue for archaeological excavations, reduce the strain of storage and maintenance of artifacts on museums and national heritage agencies and help undercut the trade in illicit antiquities, governments, universities, public museums and related institutions should consider making duplicate, common and unwanted artifacts available to the public for sale. Government agencies responsible… Read More Selling Artifacts to Save the Past
A BBC online feature entitled “The men who smuggle the loot that funds IS”, 16 February, 2015, opens with the following remarkable claim: “The trade in antiquities is one of Islamic State’s main sources of funding, along with oil and kidnapping.” At no point in the dozen or so paragraphs that follow does author Simon… Read More Sensationalist Reporting and the Antiquities Trade: If it’s in Print it Must be True!
In April of 2013 I published on this blog a photo essay highlighting some of the many Assyrian antiquities in The British Museum (here is the link: https://clioantiquities.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/a-sampler-of-ancient-assyrian-art-at-the-british-museum/ ). Little could anyone have known at the time that a gang of fanatics and thugs, referred to now under the English language acronyms ISIS or ISIL,… Read More Assyrian Art and the “Repatriation” of Antiquities
Years ago, when I first made the transition from merely collecting Mediterranean and related antiquities, to becoming a dealer in antiquities with a world wide clientele, I would never have imagined that I would so often be solicited by so many strange and misguided people. By e-mail, phone and post, I regularly receive messages from… Read More How Clio Ancient Art Deals with Illicit Traffickers and Uninformed Travelers