Archive for ‘News & Analysis’

August 15, 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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August 6, 2018

technical updates to legal threats by convicted criminals (and family members) against expert witnesses in antiquities cases

Just in case feed-readers don’t otherwise see, I’ve made some technical updates to the post on legal threats by convicted criminals (and family members) against expert witnesses in antiquities cases.

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August 4, 2018

legal threats by convicted criminals (and family members) against expert witnesses in antiquities cases

On the 26th of July 2018, a court in Greece judged that Despina Papadimitriou and Dimitri Papadimitriou were guilty of “embezzlement of monuments” or “misappropriation of monuments” (υπεξαίρεση μνημείων) in the Schinoussa case, which originated in an investigation into trading by Papadimitriou family relative Christo Michaelides. When convicted, Despina and Dimitri were given suspended sentences of four years’ imprisonment.

On the 27th, forensic archaeologist and expert witness Christos Tsirogiannis was sent a letter by Bird and Bird LLP, the legal representatives of deceased Christo Michaelides’s sister Despina Papadimitriou, nephew Dimitri Papadimitriou, nephew Alexander Papadimitriou and niece Angeliki Papadimitriou (the Papadimitriou family).

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April 4, 2018

antiquities dealers, Jaume Bagot Peix and Oriol Carreras Palomar, arrested on suspicion of jihadi terrorist financing by illicit antiquities dealing

On 26th March 2018, two 31-year-old antiquities dealers were arrested (detenido) and released on bail (puesto en libertad bajo fianza) in Barcelona, Spain. They were codenamed Mr. J.B.P. (or JBP) and Mr. O.C.P. (or OCP).

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April 2, 2018

Operation Hieratica (Operación Hierática) update: three smugglers convicted, fined, imprisoned

Reading the news about the arrests of antiquities dealers Jaume Bagot Peix and Oriol Carreras Palomar, I was reminded of Operation Hieratica (Operación Hierática). As I blogged in 2015, Operation Hieratica was part of Operation Aureus, which was directed by the Civil Guard in Spain and the police in Cyprus, coordinated by Europol, assisted by Interpol and supported by UNESCO. Between 2nd June 2014 and 19th November 2014, there were thousands of checks and searches of people and vehicles across Europe.

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March 9, 2018

The antiquity of the Guennol Stargazer – legal, looted, fake?

(The posting of the series was interrupted by a system error in Microsoft Edge, then the deliberate deletion of the lost data by Microsoft Support. It will continue next week…)

Last year, I noted the incomplete collecting history of a marble Kilia idol (also discussed as a Kiliya/tepegöz figurine/statuette), the Guennol Stargazer. The lawsuit, brought by the Republic of Turkey against Christie’s auction house and collector-seller Michael Steinhardt, continues. I make no judgement.

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March 5, 2018

“mere” corruption, political insecurity and conflict antiquities trafficking in Cyprus and Turkey

When considering trafficking of and markets for (fake) conflict antiquities, it is helpful to remember that cultural property crime can be connected with common problems, such as corruption and oppression, in uncommon ways. Furthermore, disparate cases can sometimes help to interpret one another.

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March 2, 2018

Sellers and buyers of undocumented antiquities already dismiss or demean exploitation, crime and violence at source. Will they also ignore threats in “their own” countries?

Roberta Mazza, who blogs on Faces and Voices and tweets @papyrologyatman, has published an article on Hyperallergic about the illegal papyrus trade and what scholars can do to stop it.

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March 1, 2018

every story about Turkey has everything: fake conflict antiquities trafficking, drug trafficking and conflict financing

While I was collecting evidence of the markets for (fake) conflict antiquities that are trafficked from and through Turkey, journalist Cristina Maza reviewed the allegations by Turkey that former CIA agent Graham Fuller was involved in the 2016 coup attempt and observed that ‘this story has everything’. I noted that every story about Turkey has everything. Here, I try to trace historical connections between trafficking of fake conflict antiquities, trafficking of other illicit commodities and financing of politically-motivated armed groups.

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February 27, 2018

Radiocarbon Dating and Protection of Cultural Heritage

Following a conference paper and a journal article on the ‘enhancement’ of cultural heritage by AMS dating: ethical questions and practical proposals, physicists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), plus archaeologists and a lawyer at the University of Geneva, organised a workshop on Radiocarbon Dating and Protection of Cultural Heritage.

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