Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Antiquities Raid on Jerusalem's Mamilla Mall

Souvenir antiquities boxed
in olive wood from the Holy Land
Tourists visiting the Holy Land sometimes come home bringing with them antiquities (or what they've bought as such), believing it is "legal' to do so. That is not always the case however as shown by a recent issue ('Hundreds of illegally-sold artifacts seized in Jerusalem mall' Israeli International News 15th June 2016). New regulations have been in force since March 2016 requiring that antiquities dealers manage their commercial inventory using a computerized system developed by the IAA. The move, which will allow the tracking of the items, is designed to prevent antiquities dealers from "laundering" illegal artefacts that are the product of  the commercial illicit excavation of archaeological sites for profit. Not all shops follow these new laws:
Bronze arrowheads, coins bearing the names of the Hasmoneans rulers, special vessels for storing perfumes and hundreds of items that are thousands of years old were offered for sale in a store in Jerusalem's Mamilla Mall, which was not licensed to trade antiquities. All of the items were seized on Tuesday during an operation carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery. The raid took place after the store, which was under surveillance, sold ancient artifacts to undercover Antiquities Authority investigators. [...] The activity carried out in the Mamilla store is just part of much broader effort [...] preventing the 'laundering' of stolen antiquities by manipulating the commercial inventory of authorized antiquities dealers."  In the coming days an indictment will be filed against the store owner who is suspected of illicit trade in antiquities.
Buy a "piece of the past" in your hand
Or put 'em in a tray to admire and show off
Loads of loot to choose from

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