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
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?
In light of the horrendous events of the last week or so — the senseless execution of Dr Khaled Asaad by IS at Palmyra and now the demolition of Palmyra’s Baalshamin Temple, also by IS, described by UNESCO as a war crime — a Wall Street Journal guest opinion piece by former Walters Art Museum… Read More Wall Street Journal Opinion Piece on Saving Syrian Antiquities
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
A February 16 BBC documentary on looting in Syria made the astonishing claim that the smuggling of looted antiquities was “one of Islamic State’s main sources of funding.” On February 22 I responded to this faulty investigation with this blog entry: https://clioantiquities.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/sensationalist-reporting-and-the-antiquities-trade-if-its-in-print-it-must-be-true/ My article raised three key points: First, that despite evidence of looting, which… Read More Critics Missing the Point: Responses to Clio’s February 22 Article on Looting in Syria.
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!