The Ancient Art of Collecting

Marina LahowinArticle, What do you think?Leave a Comment

In 1925, archaeologists Leonardo Woolley was excavating in an ancient Sumerian city called Ur, located in present day Iraq. There he uncovered one of the oldest collections of antiquities in the Ennigaldi-Nanna’s Museum, believed to be from 530 BC. The museum contained a diverse collection of ancient objects from Mesopotamia dating back as far as 2058 BC. Still more incredible, … Read More

Antiquities in the Art Market

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Antiquities in the art market have long been a topic of controversy surrounding auction houses, museums, collectors and even governments. From looted antiquities making their way onto the shelves of respected institutions to auction houses being caught red handed with smuggled goods, the issue is unrelenting and without an easy solution. The antiquities market is considered to be a gray market, … Read More

The Antiquities Coalition Joins CLIR on Planning for Digital Library of the Middle East

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Screen-Shot-2016-07-19-at-3.02.29-PM

From our partners at The Antiquities Coalition: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Council on Library and Information Resources $149,500 to support exploratory research, community building, and technical prototyping for the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME). Along with the horrific loss of life and human suffering in the region, the cultural heritage of many nations in the … Read More

Exclusive SAFE Interview: Donna Yates

Lillia McEnaneyInterview1 Comment

Yates Belize

Donna Yates, Lecturer in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime, the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow 1. Please describe your professional and educational background for our readers. I have always wanted to be an archaeologist, but I thought I was just going to be a regular Maya archaeologist. While studying at Boston University, I worked in … Read More

Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative & The Launch of the Conflict Culture Research Network

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Image_CCRN Launch

On June 23, 2016, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative hosted “An evening of discussion about cultural heritage and human rights” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The event featured comments by Karima Bennoune (United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Human Rights Council) and a screening of The Destruction of … Read More

Asia Week Raids Cast a Spotlight on Antiquities Trafficking in India

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India_Relief

Art auctions can be a source of nail-biting excitement with high prices breaking the record books. Yet, during the 2016 Asia Week in New York City, the headlines were dominated not by shockingly high sales, but by federal seizures of illegally trafficked Asian antiquities worth a combined estimate of $4 million. The seized artifacts were recovered as part of the … Read More

Heritage At Risk: A Tool for Understanding the Real Threat to Syria’s Cultural Heritage

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SYRIA heritage at risk

Background: Five years of civil war in Syria has taken a serious toll on the country. More than 250,000 people have died as a result of the conflict according to the UN, and millions have fled the county in search of better lives abroad. Once thriving cities are now decimated, and Syria’s rich cultural history is under constant threat. Since … Read More

Cultural Property Laws: Why They Fail and How They Can Be Improved

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Workers unload 2nd c .AD Roman sarcophagus

The destruction and looting of cultural heritage sites and antiquities is a pervasive problem in Iraq and, more recently, Syria, as both areas are plagued by wider political conflicts. Despite international cultural property legislation established to prohibit the destruction or theft of cultural heritage (including the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed … Read More

In Memoriam: Ashrawy and Mustafa Ali

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Egyptian Guards

On February 19, a gang of armed men entered the archaeological site of Dayr al-Barsha with an objective to loot antiquities. The site is well known for its rock-cut tombs dating back to the Middle Kingdom (2040 BC – 1600 BC), many of which were excavated in the early 20th century. The perpetrators were foiled in their attempt to enter … Read More

Market Impact: Increasing Consumer Demand for Legal Provenance

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ceramic antiquities

The illegal antiquities market is extremely difficult to quantify. The nature of the smuggling networks and a code of silence between buyers and sellers make it next to impossible to confirm solid numbers for analysis. One of the few places for which hard data is available is the antiquities auction market. In 2015, researchers from the University of Chicago analyzed … Read More