Is this a $4 million fake?

SAFECORNERCommentary, What do you think?Leave a Comment

As Mexico’s struggle to stem looting of historic sites was reported last month, the auctioning of the allegedly fake Mayan statue sold for $4 million (2.9 million euros) at the Paris auction house Binoche et Giquello a few days ago. Arguing for its authenticity, the auctioneers date the object between A.D. 550 and 950 while Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology … Read More

To sell or not to sell…and for what?

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The question of whether art should be sold to raise funds is the topic of an interesting exchange between British art critic Brian Sewell and Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar in “The cash now or the art for ever.” The issue has been previously covered here along with a survey posted on this blog. The result shows that of 139 … Read More

Remembering Donny George: A Tribute from SAFE


All those concerned about preserving our ancient past felt a chill down the spine upon hearing the news of Donny George’s sudden passing. Whether or not they knew him in person, a sense of loss was palpable within the community. On March 11, 2011, we lost a colleague and a friend. We also lost an eloquent advocate and a powerful—if … Read More

Deserts of Miscontent

Damien HufferCommentary, ReportLeave a Comment

Two news stories have recently come to my attention, both concerning the illicit/illegal excavation or artifact removal activities of people who certainly shown better; people with either the professional training or “passion for the past” to perhaps be more aware of the consequences of their actions before the fact, not after, when they’ve been caught. The first article concerns the … Read More

Bilateral agreements at work

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On March 11, 2011, the U.S. returned 14 ancient artifacts to China that had been seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from illicit traffickers in 2010. “Following the signing of an agreement between the United States and China in 2009, the two countries have been working closely to prevent illicit trafficking … Read More

A Tribute to Dr. Donny George Youkhanna: October 23, 1950-March 11, 2011

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The following is posted by permission of the author, Michael Rakowitz, an artist whose work The invisible enemy should not exist was inspired by the events surrounding the looting of the Iraq Museum. Dear Friends: Dr. Donny George Youkhanna, the former Director of the National Museum of Iraq, and former President of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, … Read More

Bringing Them Home: The Repatriation of Priceless Human Remains and Artifacts to Cambodia

Damien HufferCommentary, UpdateLeave a Comment

The atmosphere was one of cordiality, but also marked anticipation, as a small crowd of Australian and Cambodian government officials, Embassy representatives, dignitaries, scientists and concerned citizens gathered in the private residence of His Excellency, Cambodian Ambassador Chum Sounry, on the morning of March 10th, 2011. As refreshments were served and the crowd mingled and exchanged pleasantries, everyone’s attention was … Read More

Donny George – a man of knowledge, courage and grace


The following citation was originally published in January, 2008 in the SAFE Beacon Award Souvenir Journal when we honored Dr. George: “I am simply doing my duty. I believe that if the time comes, I am ready to sacrifice my life to save any item of Cultural Property anywhere in the world. But what I am sure of is that … Read More

The curious case of St Louis Art Museum vs the United States

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In a highly unusual legal maneuver by a U.S. museum seeking to retain recent acquisition, the St. Louis Museum of Art (SLAM) filed a complaint in federal district court on February 15, 2011 asking for a declaratory judgment to prevent federal authorities from seizing a 19th Dynasty Egyptian mask popularly known as Ka-Nefer-Nefer. Attorney Ricardo St. Hilaire has posted a … Read More