As the IS “Caliphate” disappears, time to revisit larger issues of the illicit antiquities trade

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

ISIL Destroys Palmyrene Statues, Raises Questions About Alleged Antiquities Smuggling

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.

Making Matters Worse? The Debate Over “Repatriating” Antiquities to Failed States in the Middle East

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

Selling Artifacts to Save the Past

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

Sensationalist Reporting and the Antiquities Trade: If it’s in Print it Must be True!

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!

How Clio Ancient Art Deals with Illicit Traffickers and Uninformed Travelers

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