Blog Profile / Illicit Cultural Property

Filed Under:Arts
Posts on Regator:443
Posts / Week:1.4
Archived Since:January 18, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Antiquities Trafficking Discussion at the SAA San Francisco, April 18

I’ll be presenting a short paper on the Ka-Nefer-Nefer forfeiture case at the Society for American Archaeology Annual meeting this Saturday morning. Our panel is scheduled from 8-10.15 A.M. in the Golden Gate 4 room of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Here are the other scheduled papers: Antiquities, drugs, guns, diamonds, wildlife: toward a theory […]

One Way to Counter Art Terrorists

I argue in a Saturday Op-Ed that one way to think about the iconoclasm of so-called Islamic State militants is to value the art they would destroy: The Islamic State militants destroy art to send a powerful and destructive message: that learning, beauty and the transformational power of art has no place in any so-called […]

Should Italy sell recovered antiquities?

Anna Somers Cocks thinks so:   The recent photographs of the stalwart carabinieri in front of the 5,000 stolen antiquities do, however, invite a fundamental question. Where should they go now? Because they were not properly excavated by archaeologists, they tell us nothing beyond the evidence of their own being and so add very little […]

The men who rediscovered Assyria

Daniel Silas Adamson has an outstanding longread which puts the destruction of the so-called Islamic State in context. He lays out the 19th century history of the three figures who were largely responsible fro rediscovering Assyrian civiliztion: George Smith, Hormuzd Rassam, and Austen Henry Layard. A month or so later, on 3 December, Smith read out […]

Attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis

The BBC is reporting that 19 people, including 17 museum visitors have been killed in an attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Many other visitors were trapped in the museum. No group has claimed responsibility yet, but two gunmen were killed, and there may be some involved in the attack still on the run. […]

The 25th Anniversary of the Gardner Heist

25 years ago tonight, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum suffered a devastating loss to its collection. 13 works of art led to a FBI investigation, and a new Federal Criminal provision. But the works themselves are still lost. Today brings a slew of examinations of the theft and the subsequent investigation. Stephen Kurkjian, an investigative […]

In Praise of the humble Letter

Letter writing has gone out of fashion. It’s a rare thing to receive physical notes anymore. One of my least favorite tasks every morning is responding to the emails I get from students and others. If only we could add drawings and doodles to our emails. It would add a bit of whimsy and flair […]

Kersel on the ‘Archaeological Curation Crisis’

Morag Kersel, an assistant Professor in the Anthropology department at DePaul has published an article in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology & Heritage Studies titled “Storage Wars: Solving the Archaeological Curation Crisis?“. Show More Summary

Lostal on individual criminal responsibility in Syria

Dr. Marina Lostal, a Lecturer at Xi’an Jiaotong University, School of Law has written an article examining the potential use of individual criminal responsibility in Syria for damage to cultural heritage. Her paper, presented at Qatar University in 2014 looks at the role cultural heritage plays in this armed conflict, and looks to whether prosecution […]

A roundup of the Intentional Destruction in Iraq and Syria

There has been a series of reports which shows self-declared Islamic State militants causing severe damage to antiquities and heritage sites in Iraq and Syria: at the museum in Mosul, perhaps causing destruction at sites such as the Nergal gate in Ninevah, perhaps destruction at Hatra, and maybe even damage to the ancient city of Ninevah as well. The […]

Good Luck to the Cultural Heritage Law Teams in Chicago

Good luck to all the teams fighting over the Blue Pineapple in Chicago at the National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court competition this weekend! This competition is put together by DePaul College of Law with the help of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation. It’s a great showcase for these soon-to-be-lawyers and this field. A bit […]

Germany sued over Nazi-era Medieval art sale

“Any transaction in 1935, where the sellers on the one side were Jews and the buyer on the other side was the Nazi state itself is by definition a void transaction”. So argues Nicholas O’Donnell, an attorney representing descendants of the Jewish art dealers who sold a collection of medieval artworks known as the “Guelph” or […]

Call for Papers: Art & Law in Peril

Art & Law: Art in Peril An Interdisciplinary Conference 23 June 2015, University of Cambridge   Art & Law: Art in Peril is an interdisciplinary conference convened to discuss varying perspectives on questions of art and law and to break down the barriers of specialization. Art & Law: Art in Peril intends to improve communication […]

BBC Reports on the Islamic State and illicit antiquities

Simon Cox has a terrific investigative report from Lebanon on the trade in antiquities and how it may be funding the activities of the Islamic State. You can listen to the 38 minute BBC 4 radio program here. The report interviews one antiquities smuggler a Lebanese Police Lieutenant, and a Lebanese archaeologist. From the BBC […]

“New” Leonardo da Vinci seized in Switzerland

A joint Swiss and Italian investigation has resulted in a seizure of this portrait, which may be a work by Leonardo da Vinci. Whether the work is, in fact, a recently surfaced work by the Renaissance master is very much in doubt. Some have tried to attribute the work to him the Telegraph reports: Carbon […]

Increased attention on Syria’s heritage

As the United Nations Security Council prepares to confront the Islamic State, more reports are looking at just how much looting and destruction is taking place there, and the claims about the connection between the illicit antiquities trade continues to receive anecdotal support. The N.Y. Times reported that a draft resolution is going to be discussed […]

On those 5,000 Antiquities Seized in Rome

On Wednesday in Rome, Italian officials from the Carabinieri held a press conference to display a reported 5,361 objects looted from the Swiss warehouses of Gianfranco Becchina. The staggering number of objects, many of which appear to be of museum-quality are disheartening to take in. How many tombs were ransacked? How much information lost? The objects were, […]

Trial Begins for the theft of the Codex Calixtinus

This week sees the beginning of the trial of José Manuel Fernández Castiñeiras, an electrician accused of stealing the 12th century illuminated manuscript from the Basilica of Santiago de Compostela. The Codex was taken in July, 2011 and was recovered a year later in the garage of Castiñeiras. The Codex contains illuminated sermons, music, descriptions of the pilgrimage […]

Two works by George Rodrigue recovered in the Quarter

On Tuesday afternoon a work by Rodrigue was stolen from a New Orleans gallery. The work, “Wendy and Me” was taken from a gallery in the afternoon. Video of the theft can be seen below:   That work, and another work by Rodrigue, “Three Amigos” was seen sitting against a building on Royal Street in […]

Nine artworks recovered from 2008 theft

  Back in December, the FBI announced that in coordination with the LAPD’s art theft detail, it had recovered these nine works of art, which had been stolen from an elderly couple’s home in Encino in 2008 while the housekeeper was away grocery shopping. The cell-phone search warrant affidavit offers a rare glimpse into how thieves attempt […]

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