Archive for ‘News & Analysis’

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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October 27, 2017

A new new low for rights and freedoms in Turkey

According to a wide range of opinion within the country and internationally, Turkey has reached a ‘new low’, its civil society has been ‘officially and completely silenced’, through the detention of Osman Kavala, the police’s search of his foundation, Anadolu Kültür (Anatolian Culture), and the police’s seizure of his and his secretary’s computers. I met him a few times when I was last in Turkey and he was always friendly, thoughtful, diligent, keen for socially beneficial work.

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October 19, 2017

‘There are customers for everything [Für alles gebe es Kunden]’ from Syria and Iraq

In a documentary next week, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR)/Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (ARD) will explain ‘how looted Syrian antiquities are sold in Germany [Wie syrische Raubkunst in Deutschland verkauft wird]’. It looks like it will hit a range of key points.

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April 27, 2017

The Guennol Stargazer – an iconic work of art from the 3rd millennium BC… and from Turkey

[I will try to write about this properly sometime, but Suzan Mazur investigated who sold the Guennol Stargazer. She found issues with the style, the patina and other matters. Those issues raised the question of Anatolian Stargazer fakes and a potential connection with Aydin Dikmen.]

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March 8, 2017

fake Christian manuscript, possibly from Syria, in Turkey, seized from Syrian and Turkish traffickers

Hürriyet Daily News reported an ancient book, stolen in Syria, seized in Turkey, by Gendarmerie in Bursa, where a Syrian-and-Turkish team of traffickers intended to sell it over the internet.

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February 28, 2017

Exploitation of refugees from Syria or exploitation of plausible deniability by antiquities traffickers in Turkey?

On the 22nd of February, police stopped and searched a ‘suspicious’ vehicle on Alparslan Türkeş Avenue in the Çukurova municipality of Adana city (as opposed to the Çukurova district of Adana province), southern Turkey, then found and seized an 18th-century Christian icon, an “embroidery” of one of the Twelve Apostles on a piece of gazelle skin (178 centimetres by 75 centimetres), which had been ‘hidden’ in the boot of the car. (I heard the news through the Museum Security Network.)

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