09/01/2019

Adnan Oktar (or Harun Yahya), truckloads of ‘antiquities’ and a ‘stolen’ painting

When I summarily checked the coverage of cultural property crime in Russia-controlled, Turkish-language Sputnik News, I was reminded of the ongoing case against Islamic televangelist cult leader (and, inevitably, conspiracy theorist) Adnan Oktar (who is also referred to as Adnan Hoca and also operates as Harun Yahya and Adnan Harun Yahya).
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03/01/2019

EU-Brazil Sector Dialogues on interoperability of systems for combating illicit trafficking of cultural objects

crisis

Brazil has endured chronic crisis, including widespread crime and violence in society and money-laundering and other corrupt criminality throughout its political elite, which has contributed to popular authoritarianism. And it is entering acute crisis.
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24/12/2018

antiquities dealer Fuat Aydıner, aviation service CEO Gökhan Sarıgöl and 14,000 cultural objects

The basics of this case are fairly simple, yet its implications may be far-reaching, if it is ever satisfactorily concluded, whether it results in convictions or acquittals. This post covers the sources; the question of whether it is the biggest case in the history of the Republic of Turkey (which it may be, by one practically immeasurable definition); a summary of the priceless objects and fake objects that have been seized; a summary of the metal-detectors, money, guns and drugs that have been seized; and a summary of the suspects, with separate sections on unspecified businessman Onur Uğurlu, antiquities dealer Fuat Aydıner and aviation businessman Gökhan Sarıgöl. Then, there is a note on conspiracy and coincidence.
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21/11/2018

Turkey’s ‘operation against Anadolu Kültür’s demand… to confront the past’

Or: a long aside on (dis)trust and (un)freedom in Turkey.
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19/11/2018

prosecutors and prosecutions in antiquities trafficking cases in Turkey: uncertainty in information, uncertainty in rule of law

As BBC News correspondent Mark Lowen has explained, the citizens of Turkey are both ‘addicted to conspiracy theories’ and ‘besieged by “fake news”‘. The problem is worsened by government-aligned ‘fake fact-checkers’, while it is resisted by sincere truth-seekers such as the citizen journalists of Teyit (Confirmation or Verification).

While news about cultural property crime in Turkey is blighted more by churnalism than by propaganda, like everything else, it is burdened by uncertainty of information and uncertainty of rule of law. This is demonstrated by the career of one prosecutor, who has hit the headlines once more.
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15/11/2018

I have just started a senior visiting fellowship at UCL Qatar

You wait eight years for a fellowship, then two come along at once. I’m pleased to say that, between November 2018 and February 2019, I’ll be a senior visiting fellow at UCL Qatar.

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11/09/2018

a response to a response to a response on metal-detecting and open-source analysis

Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis and Suzie Thomas have posted a response to a response to a response on metal-detecting and open-source analysis. Pieterjan submitted it on the 26th of August 2018, but it triggered the spam filter; because it had been filtered as spam, I wasn’t notified that it had been submitted. Thankfully, Pieterjan e-mailed me this morning and I found out what had happened. It is online now.

23/08/2018

I am going to be a post-doctoral fellow in cultural heritage and conflicts at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, University of Oslo

Despite lingering anxiety that it might be Russian propaganda, as it has been announced on Facebook while the vacancy is still visible on the website, it is not fake news. I am absolutely delighted to say that, for three years from early 2019, I will be a post-doctoral fellow in cultural heritage and conflicts at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, University of Oslo [Det Norske Institutt i Roma (DNIR), Universitetet i Oslo (UiO)]. I’ll share more in due time, but here’s the official announcement:
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15/08/2018

antiquities trafficking in the digital age

In World Politics Review, anthropologists Amr Al-Azm (@alazmamr) and Katie Paul (@AnthroPaulicy) have previewed their ongoing investigations into the Middle East’s other Facebook revolution: antiquities trafficking in the digital age, where looters, sellers and buyers are exploiting social networks such as Facebook and smartphone apps such as Telegram, Viber and WhatsApp, as well as online platforms such as eBay, Etsy and LiveAuctioneers.
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14/08/2018

methods for analysing the relationship between antiquities looting and armed conflict and unmasking the sale of illicit antiquities on the dark web

Alongside my study of the potential and limits of digital data, netnographic data and market data (which is summarised in another blog post), there are two other articles that explore the potential and limits of open-source research, in a special issue of Arts on advances in art crime research. One addresses analysis of factors that affect, and are affected by, cultural property crime; the other addresses investigation of online trafficking.
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