The Power of One, and Community in Protecting Cultural Heritage

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Three figurines from Anatolia, Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany

The looting of archaeological artifacts is an issue that affects us all, across the globe, with ramifications which go beyond an academic, institutional need for understanding our cultural heritage. They touch upon issues of local identity, community, and historical reconstruction, both for understanding the past, but also for considering our future. Likewise, the protection of cultural heritage, not only in … 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

Hiker Discovers 3,500 Year Old Seal and Returns it

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Sphinx Seal Impression

Last month, an Israeli hiker exploring the Horns of Hattin in the Lower Galilee chanced upon an oval, beetle-shaped seal that likely surfaced as a result of recent thunderstorms in the area. The area of the discovery is well known as the site of a former fortified citadel dating to the Late Bronze Age. Upon discovery and out of curiosity, the man contacted the Israeli Antiquities Authority, who … Read More

Employees Face Fines for King Tut’s Restoration

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King Tuthankhamun

Eight employees from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt face heavy fines for reckless destruction of King Tutankamun. It was found that they violated many of the scientific and professional standards for restoration, specifically improperly gluing of the mask’s beard. King Tut is one the most oldest artifacts dating to 3,300 years. Click here to read the full story. Photo: King Tuthankamen’s burial … Read More

Abbasid Wooden Beams Recovered from London Auction House

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Abbasid Caliphs Egypt

Eight wooden beams stolen from the Dome of the Abbasid Caliphs are now in the process of being repatriated to Egypt. The Dome of the Abbasid Caliphs dates to the 7th and 8th centuries. The well-preserved mausoleum is located near the famed Al-Sayeda Nafissa shrine in downtown Cairo. The beams, inscribed with verses from the Quran, had been illegally trafficked to … Read More

Stolen Relief of Seti I Returns to Egypt

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Seti I Relief

This week, a New Kingdom limestone relief from the reign of Seti I was returned to Egypt after it had been smuggled out of the country following illegal excavations. It was recovered from an auction hall in London, England, and, after two months of negotiations, was returned to Egypt on Monday. The return of the relief is a successful example … Read More

What do you think: “Gleaming in the Dust” by George Richards and Tristan Summerscale

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Gleaming in the dust

Following up with the previous blog post, “What do you think?”, this blog post introduces another cultural heritage protection project that reached out to SAFE for suggestions and advice. George Richards and Tristan Summerscale from London, England, have recently published an audio documentary titled, “Gleaming in the Dust.” It focuses on exposing the deep-rooted problems of illicit antiquities trade and … Read More

New legislation introduced to protect international cultural property

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H.R.5703

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

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 thorny issue of deaccession

Heather LeeArticle, Commentary3 Comments

Deaccessioned

On July 10, 2014, at Christie’s in London, a 4,000-year-old Egyptian limestone statue of an official named Sekhemka was sold to a telephone bidder for £15,762,500 (or $27,001,163, with the buyer’s premium). This sale was strongly opposed by several groups, including the UK Museums Association (MA), the Save Sekhemka Action Group, and Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry. Why the controversy? It is … Read More