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Happy New Year - and Happy New Decade!

Looting Matters would like to thank all its readers and contributors for their support during 2009. There have been over 110,000 visitors this year (not counting those who view by email or RSS subscription). I look forward to welcoming you back in 2010.

Happy New Year!

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© David Gill



Nefertiti: Hawass plans action

I have earlier commented on the acquisition of the head of Nefertiti from Amarna. The head was the main subject of a meeting of the Egyptian National Committee for the Return of Stolen Artifacts this week. Zahi Hawass notes that the session "discuss[ed] the procedures needed to make a formal request for the return of the Bust of Nefertiti now on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin".

Hawass gave the immediate outline of the case:
Earlier this month Dr. Seyfried met with Dr. Hawass and presented him with copies of all of the key documentation held by the Berlin Museum concerning this iconic piece. This includes the protocol of 20 January, 1913, written by Gustav Lefébvre, the official who signed the division of finds on behalf of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, and excerpts from the diary of Ludwig Borchardt, the excavator of the Bust.
The case was made in an earlier report about Hawass' visit to Berlin:
Dr. Seyfried presented Dr. Hawass with copies of all of the key docu…

Where should the remains of St Nicholas reside?

One of the news stories on the BBC today related to the bones of St Nicholas, perhaps better known as Santa Claus (Jonathan Head, "Turkey seeks return of Santa Claus' bones", BBC December 28, 2009). Nikolaos was Bishop of Myra in Lycia in southern Turkey. His body was placed in a sarcophagus in the Byzantine church in the city. (This Byzantine church was restored in the 19th century by the Russian Tsar, Alexander II.)

The remains were removed by Italians in 1087 and placed in the church at Bari in southern Italy.

Now a Turkish archaeologist, Professor Nevzat Cevik, from Demre (the modern town on the site of Myra) has called for the bones to be returned, and Turkish authorities are reported to be taking the claim seriously.

The issue will no doubt provide fascinating discussions: a culturally Greek Christian bishop from a now Muslim Turkey. But I suspect the publicity will help to boost visitors to Demre and the town's famous plastic Santa.



Seasonal Greetings!

Looting Matters wishes all its readers a Happy Christmas.

Nadolig llawen i chi!




What are "redundant antiquities"?

The AAMD written testimony to the CPAC review of Article II of the MOU with Italy is now available [pdf]. The submission by Kaywin Feldman, Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, is one of the pieces made available (dated, November 13, 2009). Feldman took a critical position against the Italian authorities. (Members of the AAMD need to remember that several of their institutions had been happily buying, no doubt in "good faith", recently surfaced antiquities ripped from archaeological contexts in Italy.)

Feldman appears to misunderstand archaeological material when she wrote:
The spirit of support and cooperation emphasized in the MOU would be much better served if American museums could acquire redundant antiquities and borrow objects for long-term loan from Italian museums. AAMD believes that the United States government should encourage developed countries, such as Italy, to make redundant antiquities available to the legitimate market as a way to cur…

"A growing NY Times campaign to disparage source-country claimants"

Lee Rosenbaum on CultureGrrl has written a thoughtful response to the news coverage of China's research into the dispersal of antiquities from the summer palace in Beijing.




Looking back over 2009

I started the year by looking ahead.

I suggested that we would continue to see fallout from the Medici Conspiracy. This has included the seizure of a Corinthian krater from Christie's in New York, as well as two pieces that had passed through a gallery in California. A further mural fragment from the J. Paul Getty Museum has been returned to Italy; this seems to form part of a series of fragments that had formed parts of two separate New York collections. Giacomo Medici's appeal against his conviction failed, while the Rome trial of Marion True and Robert Hecht has continued. Returned objects from the Cleveland Museum of Art went on display in Rome. However the case of the Cleveland Apollo remains unresolved. A new exhibition of returned objects went on display in the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome.

The situation with the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Miho Museum remains unresolved, though in the former case more information has become available.

Italian authorities recovere…

The Rosetta Stone: "an icon of our Egyptian identity"

Matt Bradley has written about Zahi Hawass' claims for the return of cultural property from European and North American museums (Matt Bradley, "Indiana Jones, but in reverse", The National December 19. 2009). Bradley anticipates the 2010 conference that is expected to have representations from 12 different countries (including China, Greece, Italy, and Mexico). An earlier Reuters interview is cited where Hawass restated his desire for the Rosette Stone to be returned to Egypt.

Among those interviewed for the piece were James Cuno, Katja Lembke (director of the Pelizaeus Museum), and myself.

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©David Gill




"Arguments for doing nothing"

Fans of the Cambridge classicist Francis Cornford (1874–1943) [ODNB] will know his Microcosmographia Academica (subtitled "being a Guide for the Young Academic Politician"), first published anonymously in 1908. (A centenary edition was published in 2008 by Cambridge University Press as University Politics [CUP].)

Chapter VII addresses the issue of "Argument": "There is only one argument for doing something: the rest are arguments for doing nothing".

Cornford then expounds:
The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent is that you should not now do an admittedly right action for fear you, or your equally timid successors, should not have the courage to do right in some future case, which, ex hypothesi, is essentially different, but superficially resembles the present one. Every public action which is not customary, either is wrong, or, if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time.
Should Cornford be requ…

The Rosetta Stone: Clarification from Hawass

Zahi Hawass has commented further on the request for the Rosetta Stone (Harpreet Bhal, "Egypt to ask British Museum for Rosetta Stone", Reuters, December 14, 2009). In an interview held over last weekend, Hawass told Reuters:
I did not write yet to the British Museum but I will. I will tell them that we need the Rosetta Stone to come back to Egypt for good ... The British Museum has hundreds of thousands of artefacts in the basement and as exhibits. I am only needing one piece to come back, the Rosetta Stone. It is an icon of our Egyptian identity and its homeland should be Egypt.
He seems to have moved his position from his earlier request of a loan for the opening of the Giza Museum in 2012. Reuters commented that Hawass "would no longer settle for just a loan".

I was interviewed for the report and talked about the issue of other issues in the collection:
The whole issue for the British Museum is if they say we're going to give you back the Rosetta Stone, it set…

The Rosetta Stone: The Times Responds

Graham Stewart, a columnist for The Times (London) has responded to the publicity surrounding the Rosetta Stone ("The booty included the four bronze horses of St Mark's, Venice", The Times December 12, 2009). Stewart confuses two separate issues: significant cultural objects that left their countries long before 1970; and the recent (i.e. post 1970) looting of archaeological sites to provide material for the market.

Stewart presents a simplistic view of those who argue for the return of cultural property:
"To those who believe antiquities must be repatriated to the land that created them it is all about honouring context and respecting national identity."First, archaeological objects can be understood when they are retrieved from archaeological contexts in a scientific manner. Second, archaeological objects lose their contextual information when looted. Third, recently looted archaeological objects should be returned to the country from which they had been loote…

The Rosetta Stone and the Global Village

I noticed a letter in today's Independent by Alan D. Foster in response to the Rosetta Stone debate (December 14, 2009):
... Taken to its logical conclusion, every significant cultural artefact from another country currently housed in the British Museum would have to be repatriated. But how dull, then, if our country boasted only its own heritage and culture. Surely part of living in the global village is learning to share and value each other's art and history? ...
But is Egypt asking for the emptying of all the Egyptian sculpture galleries in the British Museum, or asking for the loan of a single, unique document that is iconic for the study of Egyptology?




Italy and US co-operate over antiquities

There is further evidence of the close working relationship between Italy and US authorities. It has been reported that 1700 antiquities have been seized ("Italian police recover hoard of looted artifacts", AP, December 11, 2009). At least 19 people appear to be under investigation.

The objects seem to have been derived from tombs around Naples and in north-eastern Italy. Among the finds was a bronze bust of Augustus.

It appears that some of the material had already been sent to North America. Who were the dealers involved?

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are reported to have recovered "47 ceramic and bronze statutes that had been looted from a tomb in southern Italy dating between the 6th and 5th centuries B.C."







Looting Matters and PR Newswire

Looting Matters: Archaeological Institute Offers Views on Italian Antiquities

Looting Matters: Archaeological Institute Offers Views on Italian Antiquities

The AIA submission to the CPAC review of the MOU with Italy.


Sotheby's results: market still nervous over antiquities

Today's auction of Egyptian, Classical, and Western Asiatic Antiquities at Sotheby's shows that the market is still unsettled. The $5.8 million raised today brings 2009's total to just under $8.6 million. The value of sales in 2008 was $17.8 million.

Egyptian antiquities are playing an increasingly small part in the sale, down to 17% in value. This makes 2009 the third lowest component of Egyptian antiquities since 1998. While the median value shows a slight increase on December 2008, the market seems to be back at 2004 levels.

The reason may be more complex than the recession. Have the recent actions by Egyptian authorities (and in particular Zahi Hawass) had an impact on the market?

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© David Gill, 2009




CPAC review of MOU with Italy: the AIA version

I have already given a comment on the CPAC review of Article II of the MOU with Italy that related to "the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy".

I had noted that Sebastian Heath's presentation on behalf of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) had caused concern. A collector advocacy group issued a press release in the wake of the review and described the AIA presentation as "a wakeup call for thousands of private collectors, museums and independent scholars".

Sebastian Heath has now placed a report (as well as the text of his submission to CPAC) on the website of the AIA ("Politics & Archaeology: A First-Person Account of the CPAC Meeting Reviewing Italian Import Restrictions"). He commented on the response from the museum community:
When we had all finished, I was pleased to note that the speakers representing museums generally praised t…

Hawass: "We are not the Pirates of the Caribbean"

The Rosetta Stone was debated on this morning's BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme. Sarah Montague interviewed Zahi Hawass and Roy Clare (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council).

Hawass rejected a short-term loan. He commented on the security of the new museum in Cairo: "Security will be perfect". He rejected the suggestion that Egypt would not return a loan: "We are not the Pirates of the Caribbean."

He asked for the return of the Rosetta Stone as part of Egypt's identity: "I want the Rosetta Stone to be back in Egypt".

Clare presented the legal position and the role of the Trustees of the British Museum. He made it clear that he did not want a discussion about the "recovery" of the Rosetta Stone. Clare stated that it is an "icon for global culture", in effect making a case for the universal museum. He described the British Museum as a centre for world culture.

Montague asked if Hawass would get the Rosetta Stone back: &…

A "Lydian" silver bowl at auction

I have commented before on the level of looting in ancient Lydia. I drew attention to the study by Christopher H. Roosevelt and Christina Luke that demonstrated in their survey of Lydia, "Of the 397 tumuli personally inspected, 357 or 90 percent showed signs of looting".

My attention has been drawn to a 'Greek silver bowl' that is being offered at auction later this week (Christie's December 11, 2009, lot 87). Its collecting history is stated as, "Japanese Private Collection, 1970s."

A parallel is offered: "For a similar example from Sardis see no. 14 in von Bothmer, A Greek and Roman Treasury." This parallel piece, now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art 26.164.13, was found at Sardis and given by The American Society for the Exploration of Sardis.

So what is the full collecting history of this second "Greek", or more likely Lydian, silver cup? And why describe it as "Greek" when the closest parallel comes from Sa…

The Journal of Art Crime: Fall 2009

The Fall 2009 number of the Journal of Art Crime edited by Noah Charney and published by the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (details here) is now available.

Those interested in antiquities will be interested in the following items:

Articles
Issues in Identification and the Authenticity of Artist’s Signatures,  Graham Ospreay: 3-11Art Crime Archives, Bojan Dobovšek, Noah Charney, and Saša Vučko: 25-33A Permanent International Art Crime Tribunal? Judge Arthur Tompkins: 35-41Lessons in Looting, Stephanie Goldfarb: 43-49
REGULAR COLUMNS
Context Matters, “Looting in the Balkans”, David Gill: 63-66An Empty Frame: Thinking About Art Crime, “Are Police Posters Art?”, Derek Fincham: 67-69Art Law and Policy, “Holocaust Era Cases Reviewed”, Donn Zaretsky: 71-73Cultural Heritage, “Protection of the Concept and Profiles”, Col. Giovanni Pastore: 75-81 (English and Italian)


EDITORIAL ESSAYS
Understanding the Motivations Behind Art Crime and the Effects of an Institution’s Response,  Mar…

Conference to discuss the return of antiquities

Zahi Hawass has announced that Egypt will be hosting a conference (date to be set) to discuss the return of antiquities ("Egypt wants to host international meeting to return relics", AFP December 6, 2009). Hawass has already outlined some of the pieces that he would like to see back in Egypt.

The release states that Greece and Italy will be invited.




Looting Matters: Antiquities Returned to Italy

Looting Matters: Antiquities Returned to Italy

Comment on the handing over of two antiquities - a wall-painting from Boscoreale and a Corinthian krater - to Italian authorities.




Toxic Antiquities: the sales of 1985

Today's news that two antiquities had been handed over to the Italian authorities is a reminder of the continuing issue of toxic antiquities. The Corinthian krater had apparently been handled by Giacomo Medici and had then surfaced on the market in 1985 through Sotheby's in London ("ICE returns stolen artifacts to Italy", ICE December 2, 2009).

It is significant that an Attic bell-krater that had surfaced at Sotheby's in 1985 had to be withdrawn from a sale at Bonham's in London in October 2008.

Two other pieces that have been returned to Italy had  passed through Sotheby's in 1985. An Attic black-figured neck-amphora was returned from the Royal Athena Galleries, and an Attic black-figured amphora of Panatheniac shape had formed part of the collection of Shelby White and the late Leon Levy.

It is a matter of concern that two auction-houses --- Christie's and Bonham's --- have been willing to offer material from sales that are known to have contain…

Antiquities returned to Italy

Two antiquities that had been due to be auctioned in New York in June this year have been handed over to Italian officials ("Looted artifacts being returned to Italy from NYC", AP December 2009). One was a fragment of Roman wall-painting that had been found at Boscoreale (see earlier comments). Five other fragments from the same series have also been recovered from other locations. The other piece is a Corinthian krater that was recovered from Christie's (see earlier comments). It had apparently been handled by Giacomo Medici and sold at Sotheby's in 1985.

Other items that apparently passed through Christie's this summer have also been seized (see earlier comments).

Why is such material passing through a major auction-house?




Operation Tartuffo: has the ACCG detected a conspiracy?

Earlier this year it was suggested that I was "acting as an undisclosed agent of influence for some nationalistic, repatriation seeking foreign government, like that of Greece". Indeed it was even stated, without any hint of evidence, that I was paying "a rate of $400 per 400 words for [my] frequent PR Newswire releases".

Now it seems that my posting on the outcome of the ACCG, PNG and IAPN FOIA case against the US State Department has led to further comments by Peter Tompa.
"That does beg the question, however, how Prof. Gill became aware of the decision so quickly""How did David Gill learn about this decision so quickly ... ?"
Nathan Elkins has made the interesting observation:
It would appear that the ACCG had intended to keep the decision quiet until determining how to react since no comment came from them until immediately after Gill publicized the ruling.
Subsequent to Elkins' post there has been an extended exchange between Elkins and Tom…

Looting Matters: Coin Dealers and Collectors Lose Case Against the US State

Happy Thanksgiving

Looting Matters wishes to extend a "Happy Thanksgiving" to all its North American readers. (Today's snapshot tells me that 51% of readers in the last 24 hours came from the USA, followed by the UK at 17%.)

Looting Matters has received over 100,000 visitors this year. This excludes those who read the posts through the email distribution service, RSS feeds and other syndicated services, as well as postings on various newsgroups.

So thank you for your continued support and readership.



"This litigation was in many ways a win for the plaintiffs": The ACCG responds to FOIA decision

Yesterday I drew attention to the decision over the FOIA case brought by the ACCG, the IAPN, and the PNG. A short statement subsequently appeared on the ACCG website, "Ruling in FOIA case condones DOS intransigence". Judge Richard Leon is described as holding "pro-government views".

Although the decision went against the plaintiffs (ACCG, PNG, IAPN), the ACCG statement proclaims, "Despite the disappointing decision, this litigation was in many ways a win for the plaintiffs."

There is also fighting talk:
The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild still plans to pursue a test case regarding whether those import restrictions were promulgated in an arbitrary and capricious fashion.
This apparently relates to coins from Cyprus and China brought into the US through Baltimore (see the helpful discussion by Paul Barford).

This FOIA case was so critical to two of the plaintiffs that they have yet to comment on the outcome (PNG, IAPN).



The ACCG, IAPN and PNG FOIA Case: Opinion Delivered

The long-running FOIA related case (Civil Case No. 07-2074 RJL) brought against the US Department of State (Defendant) by the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN), and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) (Plaintiffs) appears to be drawing to a conclusion. On Friday last week (November 20, 2009) Judge Richard J. Leon delivered his opinion [download here].
... the State Department has established that it conducted a reasonable search, that it properly withheld the disputed information under FOIA exemptions, and that it complied with its obligation to segregate the exempted material from non-exempted material. The Court will therefore GRANT the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment and DENY the plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
I notice that one of the FOIA requests included: "Count IV: documents evidencing the potential inclusion of coins on the list of items subject to import restriction…

The Committee, The Institute, The Guild and the Debate Over Coins

The ACCG issued a press release in the wake of the CPAC review of Article II of the MOU with Italy ([Wayne Sayles], "Archaeologists Plead for Import Restrictions on Common Coins", The Xpress Press News Service November 18, 2009). The review was an opportunity for CPAC to acknowledge all that Italy has done to combat the problem of looting (see my overview issued through PR Newswire). Sebastian Heath, speaking for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), seems to have caused concern when he is reported to have mentioned a particular type of archaeological evidence: ancient coins.

The ACCG ("a collector advocacy group") sees Heath's comments as "a wakeup call for thousands of private collectors, museums and independent scholars". The AIA position is described as "controversial, even among archaeologists, with some AIA activists suggesting that preventing trade would end site looting".

Is it "controversial" for archaeologists …

Iraq: "Now that would be a crime"

Melik Kaylan has written a provocative piece on looting in Iraq ("Babylon revisited", Forbes.com November 20, 2009). Here are his closing remarks:
The archeo-academic community, along with the media, have served us abominably in bringing so little context and balance to a highly sensitive issue. It's time they undertook a long overdue self-examination of their performance.This has attracted a series of comments from a number of scholars, a Washington lobbyist and others:
Larry Rothfield: "It certainly is inconvenient that Col. Bogdanos disagrees with Kaylan, since as a genuine war hero he cannot be tarred as anti-military or anti-American. Shamefully, Kaylan chooses to smear him as self-serving (ignoring that the proceeds of his book, for which he was awarded, I believe, the National Humanities Medal by Pres. Bush, go to charity), and belittle his investigation (he's only a NYC prosecutor when not in the military, after all)."John Robertson: "Kaylan is t…

"Germany has become a hub for the illegal international art market"

Lucian Harris has written about the gold vessel that appeared to have been looted from Iraq ("German court orders return of ancient vessel to Iraq", The Art Newspaper November 18, 2009) [see earlier comments]. Harris reports: "The decision of the Finanzgericht or financial court in Munich on 25 September was reached on the basis of a second expert opinion which concurred that the vessel was of Iraqi origin and it was ordered that it should be handed over to Iraqi authorities."

The report quotes Alaa Al-Hashimy from an October 2009 interview:
Unfortunately, we have information that make it clear that Germany has become a hub for the illegal international art market and the authorities have not yet done enough to prevent it.
A 2007 interview with Dr Michael Müller-Karpe, a German museum curator, had described Germany as a laundry for antiquities.

Müller-Karpe now adds the telling comment:
In Germany you are punished if you buy a stolen car radio, but if you buy a stolen…

Looting Matters: Are Import Restrictions on Italian Antiquities Working?

Looting Matters: Are Import Restrictions on Italian Antiquities Working?

Issues relating to the CPAC review of the MOU with Italy.





Head from the Keros Haul at Auction

The head of a marble Cycladic figure is due to be auctioned at Christie's New York, Rockefeller Plaza on 11 December 2009, lot 78 [entry]. The estimate is $20,000-$30,000. The head is attributed to "the Goulandris sculptor". The head had passed through the hands of Charles Ede (2005), and is sold as "property from the collection of Mr. &  Mrs. Charles W. Newhall, III".

The head surfaced in the 1977 Karlsruhe exhibition, Art and Culture of the Cyclades, Karlsruhe, 1977, no. 172. It then resided in the Kurt Flimm collection; there was no known find-spot ("provenance unknown").

However Pat Getz-Preziosi (Sculptors of the Cyclades, Individual and Tradition in the Third Millennium B.C., Ann Arbor, 1987, 160, no. 34) subsequently placed the head in the so-called "Keros Hoard" (or to be more accurate the Keros Haul) [earlier comments of this misnomer with on-line links]. This information was repeated in P. Getz-Gentle, Personal Styles in Earl…

The CPAC review of the MOU with Italy

On Friday last week the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) met to review Article II of the MOU with Italy. This agreement relates to "the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy". The background to the MOU, which dates back to 2001, was the perceived problem of archaeological sites being pillaged to provide material for the antiquities market. The import restrictions were intended, in part, to check that archaeological material that was brought into North America had not surfaced recently (i.e. after the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property).

Police raids in the Geneva Freeport had drawn attention to the organised looting and redistribution of the antiquities from Italy (and elsewhere) . The evidence gathered from the raids led to the "Medici Conspiracy". On…

"Cuno risks coming across as a bad loser"

Tom Flynn has written an account of Tuesday's lacklustre "debate" with James Cuno at the LSE.  Flynn writes:
At root, however, [Cuno's] mission is to shore up the concept of the encyclopedic museum — a fortress whose boundaries are everywhere under challenge. Once again he reiterated the patently absurd notion that encyclopedic museums should be established everywhere.

Maurice Davies raised the issue of the loan of archaeological material to North American museums in the wake of the return of key pieces such as the Sarpedon krater. After last week's presentation by AAMD representatives to CPAC's review of the MOU Italy it is hardly surprising that Cuno dismissed Italy's generous offers in this area.
Cuno dismissed this as negligible and insisted that relations between the two nations were still not that good. Unlike Montebello, who saw the benefits that issued from the affair, Cuno risks coming across as a bad loser.
Cuno needs to revise his position in the …

Identifications and the Medici Dossier

The Italian authorities have a major task on their hands: the identification of more than 10,000 antiquities that feature in the so-called Medici Dossier. And there will be another 10,000 or so from the seizures in Basel. (And we should not forget the Symes photographic dossier in the hands of the Greek authorities.)

We know that the Italians have acted generously with several North American museums. The list of objects returned to Italy is much smaller than the list of disputed pieces that feature in the photographic archives. But would it be worth the legal tussle and the bad publicity arising from a court case if museums disputed the cases?

But now North American lawyers are complaining (or at least are reported to have been complaining) that the Italian authorities are identifying recently-surfaced material that turns up at New York auction-houses. No doubt cultural property lawyers will be cross that material is being seized rather than being dragged through the courts.

The Itali…

The Portable Antiquities Scheme cited in Washington

It looks as if the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme was frequently cited at last week's review of Article II of the MOU with Italy.

Peter Tompa, the spokesperson for the numismatic trade bodies the IAPN and the PNG, "advocated" that CPAC should ask Italy to "adopt" a PAS style scheme.

Wayne Sayles in the ACCG's letter of submission to CPAC wrote:
The argument that every object in or on the ground is part of an archaeological context may seem noble to some, but it is unrealistic. Literally millions of objects from the past are found every year. Must we record and control all of them? Of course not, and the British have recognized that rather obvious fact in their equitable Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme for the reporting of finds by the public.
What is unrealistic? The recording of "millions" of objects that are ripped from their archaeological contexts? Or is it "unrealistic" for the collecting lobby --- and remember tha…

Is the "Bulldog" on the Minneapolis case?

In an in-depth interview in the UK's Sunday Telegraph, Maurizio Fiorilli, the Italian state prosecutor, spoke about future action ("Maurizio Fiorilli: scourge of the tomb raiders", Sunday Telegraph August 10, 2008) [previous discussion].

Alastair Smart wrote:
Britain also has far less of a tradition of voracious collectors such as the Fleischmans passing on their purchases to its museums. All of which explains why Fiorilli's major battles so far have been transatlantic. And although he stresses that his investigations 'are now turning to Europe and Japan', he's far from finished in America, where the Cleveland Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and a host of private collectors are on his hit-list ...
At last week's CPAC review of the Article II of the MOU with Italy one of the speakers was Kaywin Feldman of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I wonder if she has resolved the issue of the Symes krater.

Here is an earlier comment from me:
In its …

Battle of Ideas: James Cuno speaks

James Cuno will be speaking at tomorrow evening's debate on "Who Owns Culture?" at the LSE (London School of Economics). The other speakers are:
Maurice Davies of the Museums AssociationTatiana Flessas of the LSETiffany Jenkins will be chairing the debate.

It would be worth asking the question why the returns of antiquities to Italy (and Greece) have included so many high profile members of the AAMD, i.e. Cleveland Museum of Art, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. Any why have museums in the UK been relatively untouched by the same issues? Is it because UK museums (through the Museums Association) have stuck to ethical acquisition policies? Is it because wealthy benefactors have influenced decisions in the US?

My own thoughts on Cuno's Who Owns Antiquity? can be found here (from the AJA website). I suggested:
What [Cuno] has failed to notice is that the “battle”…