Archive for ‘News & Analysis’

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

‘With its sleek, abstract form and its eyes tilted slightly towards the heavens, this rare complete idol from Anatolia is set to be a highlight of Classic Week in New York.’ But will it be a highlight for the right reasons? Investigative journalist Özgen Acar gave a slightly less star-struck introduction: ‘The “Kilia Idol,” a 23-centimeter statuette that has been smuggled from Turkey, will be auctioned on April 28 at New York Christies at an estimated price of $3 million.’

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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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February 27, 2017

more and less information on the murder of excavation workers and kidnapping of archaeologists in Nigeria

More and less information has emerged in relation to the murder of excavation workers Anas Ibrahim and Adamu Abdulrahim and kidnapping of professor Peter Breunig and student Johannes Behringer. According to the Associated Press (AP) report, ‘Nigerian security forces… freed’ Breunig and Behringer.

The unfortunately phrased report observed that Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai ‘commended the security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the Germans’, though he did ‘not say whether anyone had been arrested for the kidnapping[s]’… or for the murders? (However, it was written by a journalist in Kaduna. Presumably, he used “kidnapping” to refer to the entirety of the event, including the murders.)

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February 26, 2017

kidnapped German archaeologists, professor Peter Breunig and student Johannes Behringer, have been freed in Nigeria

Police have relayed that the two German archaeologists who were kidnapped for ransom, professor Peter Breunig and student Johannes Behringer, have been freed. ‘No ransom was paid when they were freed’, according to the police (paraphrased by Reuters, which I learned via Paul Barford); though, equally, no details were given. Presumably, the police are still in pursuit of the murderers of the attempted rescuers, excavation workers Anas Ibrahim and Adamu Abdulrahim. Events took place around Janjala/Janjela/Jenjela village, Kadarko/Kagargo/Kagarko area (near the road between Kaduna airport and Abuja city), southern Kaduna state, north-western Nigeria.

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February 25, 2017

update and correction: unknown gunmen have killed two excavation workers, kidnapped two [now freed] archaeologists in Nigeria

Unfortunately, there has not been any more news on rescue efforts yet. However, I have found more reports with more details, so I have updated my post. Most importantly, I thought that the killed hunters had been security escorts, but other reports have shown that they were excavation workers. So, it is the case that five still-unknown gunmen (two with machetes, three with ‘heavy guns’) have killed two excavation workers, kidnapped two archaeologists in Nigeria. Most of the new information comes from interviews of Sani Aliyu and Usman Kagarko by Premium Times.

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February 25, 2017

unknown gunmen have killed two excavation workers, kidnapped two [now freed] archaeologists in Nigeria

Around 8.55am on Wednesday morning, abductors with ‘guns and machetes’ kidnapped two archaeologists in Janjala/Janjela/Jenjela village, Kadarko/Kagargo/Kagarko area (near the road between Kaduna airport and Abuja city), southern Kaduna state, north-western Nigeria. Tragically, according to the Archaeological Association of Nigeria, local hunters and excavation workers Anas Ibrahim and Adamu Abdulrahim, ‘who intervened to abort the kidnap’, were shot and killed; the identities of the killed were also given by attempted rescuer Usman Kagarko.

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February 15, 2017

illicit trafficking, provenance research and due diligence… and confidence and risk

Last year, UNESCO hosted a round table on the movement of cultural property in 2016: regulation, international cooperation and professional diligence for the protection of cultural heritage. (See the programme.)

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December 15, 2016

a dismembered Buddha from Indonesia sold for 246 per cent more than its estimate at Christie’s Paris auction

By the market’s seemingly only definition, profit, Christie’s Paris auction of sacred images and other antiquities from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet was a success. By any other definition, its results were more questionable.

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