Tuesday 1 February 2011

Smuggled cultural artefacts returning to Turkey

Efforts continue to recover artifacts abroad Ancient artefacts that appear to have been smuggled out of Turkey are being repatriated to the country thanks to the efforts of the Turkish Culture Ministry, Anatolia news agency recently reported. Efforts continue to recover artefacts abroad, often found when they come up for auction. In 2010, 44 historical objects were returned.
Most of them came from the Tatarl tumulus in the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar. The artifacts, which were brought back in February of last year, include 38 small wooden items and four pieces of timber dating back to 450 B.C. which were allegedly smuggled from Turkey and ended up in the Munich Archaeology Museum. A ceramic object and a bowl from the ancient city of Knidos in southwestern Datça that were smuggled to Britain in 1971 were delivered back to the Turkish Embassy in London in June 2010. The artefacts were later taken to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

This year, Turkey also hopes to repatriate 328 ancient coins and 23 archaeological objects found at the Bulgarian Malko Tarnovo border crossing, 28 artifacts from the Roman period found at the Bulgarian Kapitan Andreevo border crossing  and 1,485 coins and 379 historic artifacts found at the Serbian Batrovci border crossing in 2004.

The Belgrade National Museum has said the coins recovered at the Batrovci border gate in 2004 are similar to ones found throughout the Balkans, but Turkey has said that because the names on the objects include ancient cities that are now part of Turkey, including Constantinople, Nikomedia  and Nicea , the artefacts should be considered Anatolian.
 Officials said the Culture Ministry was continuing to work for the return of numerous artifacts currently in Germany, the United States, Bulgaria, the U.K., Denmark, France, Italy, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Anatolia News Agency 'Smuggled cultural artifacts returning to Turkey' , Culture in Development blog, 31 January 2011

Martin Bailey, 'Turkey turns up the heat on foreign museums', June 13th 2012 writes: "In February 2011 the Serbian government returned 1,485 coins and 379 small antiquities, which had been seized at its border in 2004". The discrepancy in numbers is unexplained.

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