LA Art Dealer Imprisoned for Smuggling Operations

Logan RecchiaNewsLeave a Comment

Bowers Museum

An ancient art dealer who operated the now defunct Silk Roads Gallery in Los Angeles was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for smuggling antiquities and committing tax fraud. The dealer, Jonathan Markell, has been charged with forging documents and object histories that allowed him to illegally import antiquities from Southeast Asia. Markell sold the artifacts to collectors, who … Read More

Former Antiquities Dealer Charged with Smuggling

SAFECORNERNewsLeave a Comment

Ban Chiang pottery

Yesterday, a former antiquities dealer, Jonathan Markell, was sentenced to eighteen months in prison followed by a year of supervised release. Markell was charged with providing false declarations in customs documents in order to bring stolen archaeological material into the United States. This was not the first time that Markell and his wife, Cari, had been involved in trafficking activities; … Read More

New legislation introduced to protect international cultural property

Heather LeeHomepage, News, Report1 Comment


SAFE applauds the introduction of a new legislation aiming to improve the efficiency of the U.S. federal efforts to protect international cultural property. On November 13, Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Christ Smith (R-NJ) proposed the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 5703) in response to the terrible state of affairs brought by ISIL/ISIS in Syria and … Read More

Neil Brodie: It is no surprise that the looting continues.

Neil Brodie10 years after, Article, Commentary5 Comments

We thank Neil Brodie for joining pur 2013 Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage with the following statement. Dr. Brodie, an author of “Looting and the World’s Archaeological Heritage: The Inadequate Response” with Colin Renfrew, is a SAFE Beacon Award Winner in 2008. Ten years ago, in 2003, I was reading a lot about the looting of archaeological sites and museums in … Read More

Why should import restrictions on antiquities from Cambodia be renewed?

SAFECORNERAnnouncement, Commentary, Report1 Comment

Weeks before the gavel fell on New York’s Asia Week auctions, Nord Wennerstrom began raising questions about the “iffy provenance” of Khmer artifacts, echoed by Chasing Aphrodite’s post on its Facebook page “For sale at Asia Week auctions: tons of unprovenanced Khmer antiquities“. Although the lack of published provenance (or ownership history) is not proof of dubious origin, it begs … Read More

Federal Court Judge rules that 10th c. Khmer statue remains at Sotheby’s … for now

SAFECORNERUpdate4 Comments

Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan

In a 30-minute conference held on the 21st floor of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan today, Judge George B. Daniels ruled against the government’s request for “a warrant to arrest” the 10th century Khmer sandstone sculpture, known as a Dvarapala, which is the subject of the in rem civil forfeiture action known as United States of … Read More

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

Damien HufferCommentary, ReportLeave a Comment

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

The ethics of “tomb raiding?”

Damien HufferCommentary, Report4 Comments

This rather shocking article needs to be further exposed. Cultural internationalism and a demand for antiquities justified for aesthetic and “preservation” related reasons appears to be alive and well, at least where open-air purchasing of potentially authentic pieces of Angkor Wat in Thailand are concerned! Closing the article by stating how much they purport to have learned regarding the “rights, … 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

BC Galleries: The Antiquities Trade Down Under

Damien HufferAlert, Commentary10 Comments

A few days ago, a very shocking and depressing addition to my personal monitoring of the global antiquities trade, especially in regards to Southeast Asian artifacts, was brought to my attention. I’m talking about a distributor called BC Galleries ( Formerly a member of, and with clients ranging from individuals, to museums, to other galleries, they have operated out … Read More