Friday, 17 August 2018

Algeria Arrests Traffickers of Archaeological Remains and Recovers Cultural Property'

The Algerian authorities announced: 'Arrest of 43 traffickers of archaeological remains and recovery of 4427 cultural property' (Fennec News, 18th August 2018) the announcement reads:
More than 43 traffickers of archaeological artefacts and works of art were brought to justice in the first half of the current year, in addition to 4427 cultural property recovered, said a statement from the Cabinet from the Ministry of Culture. The defendants were arrested and the objects recovered thanks to the coordination of the various sectors concerned and the vigilance of the national security corps, the statement added. The Ministry of Culture praised the efforts that "reflect the vigilance and professionalism of the national security bodies in the fight against crime", highlighting "the importance of civil society cooperation and citizens with the security services and the sectors concerned to put an end to the looting of the national cultural heritage, "the statement concludes.
All well and good until we tun to the photo that accompanies it in some media.

as faux-antiquities go, these must be in line for the 'worst ever' award. The pot and brass crucifix might, I guess, be real, but that's only because we don't see them close up.  The rest are Algerian archaeological 'folk art' I would guess. Note the little Nefertiti lurking at the back, she gets everywhere. I wonder whether there is a connection between the timing of this announcement and the US MOU negotiations going on at the moment...

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Up to 30,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.

UN report suggests that up to 30,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria. This contradicts previous US intelligence that just 6,000 Isis militants are still operating in the two countries. Anyway, watch who you bought those antiquities from.

Croatian Border Violence

Shaun Walker Refugees crossing from Bosnia 'beaten and robbed by Croatian police' Guardian Wed 15 Aug 2018
“According to the testimony of migrants and monitoring groups, the Croatian police force is engaging in a systematic campaign of violence and theft against migrants and refugees attempting to find a route to western Europe.”
So, I guess traffickers would avoid bringing antiquities through the same way, as the local cops would just nick them too.

What a tangled web the international transport of antiquities must be... Who'd want to get involved

Anastasis at Longmen

Some views of Buddhas in the Longmen cave temple near Luoyang in Henan province, China. They date to the period between the Northern and Southern dynasties and (mostly) from the Tang Dynasty. Major artifacts were removed by collectors and souvenir hunters in the 1930s and 1940s, and many of the 100,000 statues were vandalized and destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966 until 1976). Here we see two Buddhist statues before and after the restoration following the looted heads being returned by foreign collectors.


What dos it take to get a collector to return what is obviously a piece smashed off from a complete whole for profit - and if collectors really do 'care about the past', why are there so many headless Buddhas? 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Britain will Hang on to Your Stolen Stuff

The Return of Cultural Objects (Revocation) Regulations 2018
This instrument will revoke the domestic regulations which implement EU Directive 2014/60, relating to the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of EU Member States, so avoiding a one-sided obligation upon the UK to return cultural objects, in the event of 'no deal' with the EU upon exit.
Time was when doing the right thing was simply what one does. Now it seems it has become a regretworthy obligation to be avoided.

Buddha Stolen from Museum in 1961 Surfaces on London Market

Nadeem Badshah, 'Stolen Buddha statue to return to India after being found in UK'  The Guardian  Wed 15 Aug 2018  

A 12th-century statue of Buddha stolen from India nearly 60 years ago is to be returned to the country after it was discovered at a trade fair in the UK. The bronze sculpture was one of 14 statues ransacked from the Archaeological Museum in Nalanda, eastern India, in 1961. It is believed it changed hands several times over the years before eventually being sent to a London antiques dealer for sale. [...]  The statue was identified at a trade fair in March by members of the (ARCA), an organisation working to preserve cultural heritage, and which aims to recover stolen artefacts.  Police said the current owner and dealer were unaware of the statue’s history and agreed for it to be returned to India. 
If the owner was 'unaware of the history', why did they buy it in the first place? In such a case the word owner is a false label, they are nothing more than a careless handler of stolen property. Neither that person, nor the dealer who was helping to get this unpapered stolen object off their hands is named. Why not?

Supporters of PAS

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a partnership project [that]
creates partnerships between finders and museums/archaeologists
to increase participation in archaeology and
advance our understanding of the past

The above seems to me to be a very good analogy to the archaeologists who, despite everything, insist on calling themselves the 'partners' of artefact hunters and collectors engaged in Collection-Driven Exploitation of archaeological sites and assemblages as a source of collectables for entertainment and profit. They seem to be ignoring a whole range of information and other outlooks that suggest that this is a misnomer.

History Trashing in 'Partnership'  (and when is the inquest going to be publicised?)
more partnership
Huge amount of partnership going on here.... 

Vignette: PAS and its supporters
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