Documenting the Damage: An Interview with Dr. Simone Mühl

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Simone Mühl studied Near Eastern Archaeology, Assyriology and Proto- and Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). After achieving her Master of Arts-degree there in 2007, she started working on her PhD-thesis entitled, “History of Settlement in the central Trans-Tigris area – from the Neolithic to the Late Assyrian period”. In 2011, she received her PhD and started working … Read More

Bones of contention: The global trade in archaeological and ethnographic human remains

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Bones of Contention.

These days, research on the depth and breadth of the global illicit antiquities trade, and how best to dismantle and prevent it, grows ever-more diverse. One particularly under-studied aspect continues to fascinate me: the trade in archaeological and ethnographic human remains. With licit and clearly illicit faces, deals conducted online (but most likely primarily off-line), this trade forms but one component … Read More

The Front Line in the Battle for Egypt’s Heritage

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On Monday the 14th April I was fortunate enough to attend the Washington, DC, lecture featuring Dr. Monica Hanna entitled “The Arab Spring and the State of Egypt’s Antiquities,” which was held at the Woodrow Wilson Center and co-hosted by The Antiquities Coalition. From Dr. Hanna’s presentation, there seems to be very few sites in Egypt left that have not been dug … Read More

Plumbing the Depths of the “Shadow Economy”: Reflections of an Antiquities Trade Scholar at an Organized Crime Workshop

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Inside the Shadow Economy

On the 12th November, I attended a very special workshop, held at the stunning Stamford Plaza hotel in Brisbane, Australia. Hosted by both CEPS (Centre for Excellence in Policing and Security) and the ASMF (Australian Security Medals Foundation), it brought together a number of regional and international experts from academia, law enforcement, INTERPOL, police forces, and private security businesses. With … Read More

Why the looting of the National Museum of Iraq still matters

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Museum Closed

Like those Americans of my parents’ generation who can remember where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot, or of my generation who can remember their reaction to the breaking news of the September 11th attacks, the looting of the National Museum of Iraq remains, ten years later, a watershed moment for the global archaeological community … Read More

Sotheby’s “Off-Base” on Cambodian Antiquities Again

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Sotheby's catalog featuring Cambodia statue

It appears that Sotheby’s is in hot water yet again in relation to their unscrupulous selling of Khmer antiquities. A news article has come to my attention concerning the recovery and repatriation of a c. 950 AD warrior statue, likely looted from the site of Koh Ker during the Vietnam/American War. The Cambodian government recently asked the US for help … Read More

Cause for Alarm?

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This link points you to a description of a new “reality” TV show slated to descend on St. Augustine, Florida, and 13 other American cities and towns this year. The gist? Let’s dig up private and public property to unsystematically hunt for “treasure” that can “tell a story of the past.” Cause that’s exactly what archaeology is all about, right?! … Read More

Sad news out of Iran…

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This link takes you to a Tehran Times article (brought to my attention by Museum Security Network) discussing the on-the-ground looting situation at the ancient city of Dastvar, Khuzestan Province, Iran. After five excavation seasons spanning the 1960s-1990s, it appears that what’s left of the city and its cemeteries are being looted away at a frightening pace. Part of the … Read More

Support from an Unlikely Source?

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This link will take you to a new article written for Forbes magazine (they of the Fortune 500 billionaires list), written by one Robert Lenzner. In a boost to the cause of global antiquities trade ethical and legal reform, he describes how discussions last summer with a real-estate investing friend who collected Greek and Roman art (to emulate Levy and … Read More

A Fresh Coat of Justice

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Good news on the front to protect Southwest US rock art sites from vandalism. This article details the arrest and prison sentence of another rock art vandal; a man who shot up a petroglyph panel with red and green paintball pellets in March of last year. More detail can be found here. Grapevine Canyon, in the Lake Mead National Park, … Read More