Blog Profile / Illicit Cultural Property

Filed Under:Arts
Posts on Regator:448
Posts / Week:1.3
Archived Since:January 18, 2009

Blog Post Archive

25 Objects Returned to Italy, 0 Arrests

    In a ceremony this week officials from the United States and Italy announced the return of 25 looted objects to Italy. The various press releases from the U.S. and Italian authorities have details on all the returns. But I want to highlight one object which fascinates:this 6th-century BC Kalpis, likely looted from near […]

Student Note on Underwater Heritage in the Dominican Republic

Lydia Barbash-Riley, a student and Editor-in-Chief of the Indiana Jouranal of Global Legal Studies has an interesting piece examining the impact of globalization on underwater cultural heritage management in the Dominican Republic: This Note addresses the management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) in the Dominican Republic as a case study of the effects of […]

Rome Convention: 20 Years after the UNIDROIT Convention

I’m very much looking forward to participating in this Friday’s conference at the Capitoline Museum in Rome marking the 20th Anniversary of the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen and Illegally Exported Cultural Property. If you haven’t registered yet, and happen to be in Rome, I’m afraid registration is closed. But I’ll be offering some thoughts on the […]

Opposing Papers on Numismatic Law

I happened on two opposing viewpoints on the import restrictions on ancient coins in my inbox this afternoon. The first, written by Nathan Elkins, critiques from an archaeological perspective the test case brought by the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. The case attempted to challenge the breadth of import restrictions against the import of ancient coins, “Ancient […]

Outstanding report by VICE on antiquities looting in Egypt

    Tonight at 11 EST on HBO, the VICE series takes on the problem of antiquities looting in the Middle East. A typical VICE episode combines two 15-minute reports with great camera work and a good investigative approach. As others have pointed out, the series does a terrific job showing us reports of what is happening […]

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 […]

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