Avarice and Semi-Automatics off the Aegean

Khamal PattersonUncategorizedLeave a Comment

The intrepid work of Greek police dismantled a criminal ring of armed smugglers recently. Its investigation was a pain-staking 14 months. Authorities believe that the syndicate is made up of about 50 people. Around October 5, 2016, 26 people were arrested with guns, cash, fake license plates, and metal detectors. They were caught smuggling several ancient Greek artifacts, including glassware; … Read More

Confrontations: A Young Boy’s Temptation

Michael ShamahArticle, Commentary, Confrontations, From the fieldLeave a Comment

SAFE blog’s new series “Confrontations” invites everyone to share firsthand experiences with looting and the illicit antiquities trade. These personal accounts will illustrate the on-going problems of these issues within a global context.  When I was young, before I gained an interest in archaeology and the ancient world, my knowledge of artefacts was merely limited to the Indiana Jones Trilogy. … Read More

Prominent coin dealer and hand surgeon thought he was selling real stolen coins

SAFECORNERAlert, Announcement3 Comments

Dr. Arnold-Peter Weiss, a prominent Rhode Island hand surgeon, a professor of orthopedics at Brown University School of Medicine, and a dealer in ancient coins, pleaded guilty on July 3, to attempted criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor offense, for trying to sell what he thought were authentic ancient Greek coins that he believed had been looted from Sicily. But the coins … Read More

UPDATE: $500 million worth of shipwreck loot remains property of Spain, court rules…again

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Coins found by the Odyssey Marine exploration from the "Black Swan"

Odyssey Marine Exploration’s appeal of the court’s ruling that the 17 tons of silver and gold the salvage company dug up from the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes (known as “Black Swan”) was rejected by the court, reaffirming a ruling earlier this year that the Black Swan treasure is Spain’s “natural, legal patrimony.” Details of the case, … Read More

Import restrictions on Italian antiquities extended

SAFECORNERAnnouncement2 Comments

Today’s Federal Register announced that import restrictions imposed on certain archaeological material originating in Italy have been extended for another five years. The material represents the pre-Classical, Classical, and Imperial Roman periods of its cultural heritage, ranging in date from approximately the 9th century B.C. through approximately the 4th century A.D. The determination was made under the terms of the … Read More

More False Claims about Lobbying on Antiquities Issues

Nathan ElkinsCommentary1 Comment

David Gill has recently addressed claims made by Peter Tompa that appear to have little basis in fact. Tompa is a lobbyist who represents commercial trade interests. He has alleged that the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) “was involved in behind-the-scenes lobbying on behalf of the Cypriot Department of Antiquities, the Cypriot government body that issues excavation permits that … Read More

Court rules: Black Swan treasure is Spain’s “natural, legal patrimony”

SAFECORNERUpdate3 Comments

U.S. district judge Steven Merryday today ruled for the return of half-a-million coins and hundreds of gold objects to Spain. The artifacts, which had been recovered by the Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. had been “illegally taken.” Spain’s cultural ministry said. According to an AFP report, Odyssey (the NASDAQ-traded corporation that specializes in salvaging shipwrecks) “had argued that even though the … Read More

Coins matter

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In the SAFE feature article “Why coins matter” numismatist Nathan Elkins wrote “Ancient coins are among the most widely collected and demanded objects among American collectors of antiquities.” “We cannot think that ancient coins are less significant than Greek vases—when looted, both are forever divorced from their historical and archaeological contexts and irrecoverable information is lost when the site from … Read More

Gill considers the current legal action pending against the US Department of State regarding the import of antiquities

Nathan ElkinsReportLeave a Comment

From “Why are ancient coins from Cyprus featured in a suit against the US Department of State?,” PR Newswire, 26 June 2009: SWANSEA, Wales,June 26/PRNewswire/ –David Gill, archaeologist, considers the recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit on the US Department of State. The FOIA suit was served in November 2007by three numismatic organizations; one of the three is based … Read More

Preserving Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria

Nathan ElkinsReport1 Comment

The Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues weblog has called attention to a campaign to preserve Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria which lays in the northwestern part of modern Bulgaria. Like so many other places in Bulgaria, the site is being systematically destroyed by treasure hunters. I have discussed the destruction of Bulgaria’s archaeological record and cultural heritage several times before … Read More