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

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

Experts lend opinions to the discussion of unprovenanced antiquities

Brooke TodsenCommentary, Report, What do you think?Leave a Comment

The New York Times reported on Tuesday, July 10 about the growing tension over new guidelines “making it more difficult for collectors of antiquities to donate, or sell, the cultural treasures that fill their homes, display cases and storage units.” As museums and auction houses react to recent measures taken by the U.S. to stem the illicit antiquities trade, they are increasingly reluctant … 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

Finders Keepers – Craig Childs

Andrew VasicekReviewLeave a Comment

As it turns out, the author’s title is unbelievably appropriate as it describes the essence of the entirety of the book – a personal reaction to the discovery of artifacts. Childs sets out to describe the history behind humanity’s need to understand its past. He artfully crafts a story based in part on his own personal, and very diverse, travels … Read More

Coins matter

SAFECORNERAnnouncement1 Comment

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

US Heritage Protection Legislation “inadequate” to Curb Antiquities Market

Paul BarfordReportLeave a Comment

The pro-collecting lobby urges that the instead of current “restrictive ” laws, the archaeological heritage of all regions should become a free-for all to be “harvested” for collectable antiquities, perhaps with some form of voluntary reporting scheme like Britain’s Portable Antiquities Scheme in place to salvage some of the information which would otherwise be lost. In contrast to this we … Read More

Butterflies and antiquities: no laughing matter

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The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Peter Laufer thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran A post on Illicit Cultural Property highlighted an interview between John Stewart of The Daily Show and the author Peter Laufer which drew a parallel between art trafficking and the illegal trade of endangered species. … 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