Archive for December, 2014

December 27, 2014

Wouldn’t it be better for collectors and dealers to restrict themselves to the 145-year-old market in licensed antiquities from Cyprus?

It looks like 2017, when Cyprus and the United States will discuss the renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on antiquities import restrictions, is going to be a long year for me. American antiquities collector and lobbyist Peter Tompa has temporarily excluded me from a perceived “archaeological lobby” in order to use the work that offended the anonymous activist against the “archaeological lobby”.

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December 27, 2014

Activist agenda?

I spent Christmas Eve refuting a comment by someone who had neither the courage nor the evidence to put their name to their own claims. (They accused me of having an unidentified ‘personal agenda’ and spreading false information, though they actually affirmed my claims in their comment.) Antiquities collector Kyri observed, ‘everyone who’s anyone knows the archa[e]ologist[s] turn[e]d a blind eye’. The commenter obviously knew too, which raises the question: What agenda did they have? Why did they try to discredit me for sharing publicly-available professional/official information, which had come from the state, society and community that the commenter appeared to believe they were defending?

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December 24, 2014

Agenda? What? Retraction? How?

Nearly four years ago, I blogged a basic analysis of antiquities in the Severis Collection. It didn’t draw much attention or any comment. Last week, the launch of an edited book on Heritage Crime, in which I had a chapter on Cyprus, led to renewed interest in my work on the island. (I’ve also published a peer-reviewed journal article on analysing the illicit antiquities trade.) Someone found or traced that old blog post. They alleged that I was ignorant and had an agenda. And they requested that I apologise for and retract the post.

Perhaps the anonymous commenter read it in an F pattern. Regardless, their comment was misleading and I will not retract the post. I will, however, explain the commenter’s errors. I will also demonstrate that, inexplicably, the content of the comment actually supports the post. And, while it may be a product of bureaucracy rather than Machiavellianism, I will show that the Greek Cypriot administration has erased certain inconvenient statements by Greek Cypriot archaeologists from its website.

December 20, 2014

Correction and clarification but no retraction

I did not comment on this matter before, because I did not know whether the back-and-forth e-mail exchange had ended. Now that Cultural Property Observer Peter Tompa has made a public comment on the issue, I assume that it has. I would like to apologise to Tompa. In an article on Hyperallergic, I described him as a dealer and lobbyist. The article, Lobbyist Misleads on Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking, has been corrected to show that he is a collector and lobbyist.

December 18, 2014

Antiquities looting under regime, rebels and jihadists in Syria

Assisted by researchers at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center (at Pennsylvania Museum) and the Smithsonian Institution, the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project (of the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)) has conducted satellite image analysis of Syria’s twelve tentative (nominated) UNESCO World Heritage sites.

December 16, 2014

Heritage crime and threats to cultural heritage in the Cyprus Conflict

Thanks to the editors of Heritage Crime, Louise Grove and Suzie Thomas, I’ve also had the opportunity to write something new on Threats to Cultural Heritage in the Cyprus Conflict.

December 15, 2014

Antiquities looting and the human rights of subsistence diggers

I’ve finally published something on the Human Rights of Subsistence Diggers. I cannot thank the editors of Ethics and the Archaeology of Violence, Alfredo González-Ruibal and Gabriel Moshenska, enough.

December 14, 2014

UN maps devastation of Syria’s cities

Hyperallergic have published my post on the UN maps of the devastation of Syria’s cities, which show the harm to its civilian property, its communities’ neighbourhoods. First, those responsible for the war crimes of reckless destruction of civilian property and the crimes against humanity of targeted destruction of cultural and community property should be identified and prosecuted. Second, it’s been more than a month since my fisking of Robert Fisk on the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir Ezzor. But there hasn’t been any response. The Independent hasn’t even corrected the date of Armenian Genocide memorial day.

December 13, 2014

Uzbekistan: Uzbek State Arts Museum employees embezzled cultural assets, used forgeries to hide operation for fifteen years

According to the Uzbek general prosecutor’s office newspaper, Huquq, Uzbekistan’s State Arts Museum in Tashkent has suffered ‘major’ losses to embezzlement, which a gang within its workforce performed for $100-$800 per piece. The chief curator and two other museum employees have been convicted of embezzling cultural assets. Chief curator Mirfayz Usmonov has been sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment, while his subordinates have been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

December 13, 2014

Aleppo’s Al Sultaniyah Madrasa-Mosque appears to have been destroyed

Hyperallergic have published my review of the evidence for the destruction of Al Sultaniyah Madrasa-Mosque in Aleppo, Syria, on the 7th of December. It appears to have been destroyed.

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