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'Abu Sayyaf Stash' Plaques

I thought I'd try and manipulate the images of the plaques from video of the Abu Sayyaf stash. The results are not brilliant: I was first inclined to see these as terracotta plaques of the 'Old Babylonian' type found in sites in southern Iraq (Larsa, Isin etc) in which case the regular edges were suspicious. Show More Summary

More on the Added Value of a Collecting History

David Knell (Ancient Heritage Friday, 17 July 2015) wrote some thoughts on 'Your typical "antiquity" on eBay - where did it come from?'. As usual, apart from the dubious assurances of "Thames find" and "British found" by the seller, there is absolutely no indication of where the item came from. Show More Summary

Deconstructing a Stonehenge "House"

A game of blind h ouse detective When a reader contacted me to ask my opinion on a reconstruction that was referred to as “the Stonehenge House”, I saw an interesting opportunity for a blind test. In truth, I had not looked at this,Show More Summary

From Erbil to Baghdad: That Abu Sayyaf Nefertiti

While on the question of fakes, that Nefertiti deserves more comment. We do not know what it is made of, hand carved stone |(soft limestone, alabaster) of cast material (resin or plaster) are all possible. I am going to guess that it is 'hand carved in Egypt' and of alabaster. Show More Summary

"Wot Makes Tekkis Larf, ROTFLMAO"

There are some metal detectorists who are good "ambassadors for the hobby" but many who most definitely are not. Such is the vacant tekkie from Texas who provided a link to the following as "hot weather humor" and the guy who wrote the...Show More Summary

Second Week Of 2015 Excavations At Landsjö

I write these lines on the day after we backfilled the last two trenches at Landsjö, packed up our stuff, cleaned the manor house, hugged each other and went our separate ways. It’s an odd feeling to take apart the excavation machine while it still runs. It’s been four fun and successful weeks! Since my…

'High End' Antiquities

With regard to the German gyrations about how to define art of 'national significance' based on financial value, I was asking around what people feel is a "high end" antiquity. The answers I got tend to suggest that there is a wide range of what people feel is a "high end" antiquity. What do you think, and how does that compare with the proposed German cut-off of 300k euros?

Abu Sayyaf Stash - "maybe all fakes"?

Writing on the Abu Sayyaf stash recently revealed by the US in Baghdad Museum, the Observer (Alanna Martinez, 'US Returns Looted Artifacts to Iraq—But Are Some Fakes?' 17th July 2015) quotes Donna Yates: Some experts have even questioned the authenticity of the objects all together [sic]. Show More Summary

Odyssey: "Looting Threatens HMS Victory"

HMS Victory, the greatest warship of its day and the immediate predecessor to Nelson’s ship of the same name, was lost in 1744 in the English Channel. The wreck was discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2008 nearly 65 miles from where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked. Show More Summary

This week at Forbes: Ottoman mass grave, structural violence, cremains buzz Pluto, and Roman zombies

The post title lies somewhat: these are links over the last two weeks, not one. I've been slacking off of blogging in order to finish up three articles and work on the book. So here's what was on offer on my Forbes blog over the last fortnight: Mass Grave Reveals Ottoman Soldiers Fought to the Death in 16th Century Romania. Show More Summary

German Cop-Out?

Back in October 2014, on the back if the 'ISIL antiquities sales' talk, there was talk about the Germans cleaning up their antiquities market, preventing the movement of items without the proper paperwork, in order to cut down the circuulation of vast numbers of illicit artefacts. Show More Summary

The diary in the attic

Shawn dusted off the old diary. ‘Smells of mould’, he thought, as he flipped through the pages. Hmmph. Somebody was pretty careless with their coffee. I think it’s coffee. Hmm. Doesn’t smell like coffee.  What the hell…. damn, this isn’t coffee. Shawn cast about him, looking for the android digital spectralscope he kept handy for […]

FLO Daubney and the Dogtag

A metal detectorist brought in for recording a dog tag from Skegness beach to FLO Adam Daubney, who actually recorded it, even though he decided it was 1960s vintage or later (the PAS was supposed to be for non-Treasure finds 300 years old or older). Show More Summary

Museum asks detectorists not to melt Civil War musket and cannon balls

PAS distribution of Musket balls "Only intrestid in th' 'istry, mate" says Baz Thugwit as he place another lead artefact in his 'scrap bucket'. The vast majority of UK artefact hunters do not live in areas where metallic lead occursShow More Summary

Understanding Digital Archaeology

I had a bit of a fun(-ish) surprise when a few of my colleagues directed my attention to a recent article in the Journal of Field Archaeology where the authors cite a personal correspondence with me (!), but also, Visions of Substance, the most recent book published by the Digital Press at the University of… Read More ?

The Whole Point of No-questions-asked and "Ooops-somebody's-lost-the-paperwork' Antiquities Trading.

The numbers given in various accounts of the Abu Sayyaf antiquities stash vary wildly, the first account said 'seventy' artefacts were repatriated (the reference was to packets of artefacts) then 400, 500 and the US Department of State said 750. Show More Summary

Footprints, now fingerprints

Denmark: Archaeologists Find Artisan’s 5,500-year-old Fingerprint in Ceramic Vessel Archaeologists unearthed pieces of a ceramic vessel from an ancient fjord east of Rødbyhavn near Lolland, Denmark on the south coast. The 5,500-year-old...Show More Summary

Archaeology done wrong?

I saw this thing in my news feed and was intrigued: Bronze Age time capsule: 3,000-year-old vitrified food found in jars in England Vitrified, you say? Yes. I was thinking “Idiots. Organic substances can’t vitrify, that’s for silicates.” True vitrification yes, but organics can also vitrify. I’d never seen this referred to archaeologically, however. I didn’t [...]

Abu Sayyaf's Wife Held by Americans in Iraq

A bit of background to the antiquities stash story. Although US forces in a night-time raid in Syria managed to blow his head off, little is actually known about Abu Sayyaf and why he was targeted by this extraordinary May 15th/16th raid. Show More Summary

More on the Abu Sayyaf Stash

Loveday Morris, Beirut-based correspondent for The Washington Post has a derivative piece on the 'Artifacts looted during the Iraq invasion turned up in the house of an Islamic State leader', July 15 2015. "The United States handed over...Show More Summary

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