Friday 13 July 2012

Cyprus MOU Extended

Today the US agreed to  extend the controls of imports of certain types of archaeological and ethnological materials from Cyprus under their CPIA. This was opposed by many collectors and dealers who wish to import such items and are unconcerned about how and when objects left that divided island  before entering the US market. These dealers don't want to have to get acceptable export documentation for freshly-surfaced archaeological objects such as ceramics, sculpture, architecture, jewelry and coins from pre-classical and classical periods.  Others want to trade on similar terms in freshly-imported ecclesiastical and ritual ethnological materials such as liturgical crosses, painted icons, glass church lamps, and mosaics from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods. They'll have to wait another five years before opposing further renewal to facilitate their business interests in such material.

Meanwhile under the US 'application' of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, the MOUs do not in any way hinder them buying through Cyprus material looted from war-torn Syria, or archaeological sites of Southeastern Turkey, just a short boat trip or flight away.  So I do not see what the dealers and collectors are moaning about, there are still plenty of opportunities to buy archaeological material without export documentation for the US market if that is what they want.

Rick St Hilaire: U.S. Renews MoU Import Controls on Cultural Heritage From Cyprus, 13 Jul 2012
Cultural Property Observer: It's Friday the 13th-- Cypriot Import Restrictions Renewed 13 Jul 2012

Vignette: Cyprus at the crossroads of the ancient world, and potentially modern antiquities smuggling. 

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