Posts tagged ‘Egypt’

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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November 9, 2015

tense being reviewed: antiquities looting to order in India

A month ago, Donna Yates, who teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime for the University of Glasgow, kindly reviewed my analysis of looting-to-order/theft-to-order of cultural property in (open access) Cogent Social Sciences. I’m now finally clawing my way back to electronic life and wanted to highlight it here.

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July 17, 2015

Islamic State archaeology book club reading list – deliberately acquired and transported in conflict

Last month, Mehmet Nuri Ekinci reported that Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had seized equipment from Turkish Islamic State fighters in Syria; @hasavrat noticed that they had confiscated a book that documented ancient coins; and I asked if anyone recognised it. Ute Wartenberg Kagan did – and it makes grim reading.

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July 8, 2015

Soil, saw marks and undocumented antiquities on the open market

This is a slow way to make a quick point, so you really can skip over the sections on soil and saw marks, which are just a sample of sources that discuss the implications of soil or saw marks on antiquities. In light of the consensus of opinion, I ask three very simple, open questions. Why do sellers advertise the presence of soil and saw marks? Why don’t sellers explain the innocuous origins of the soil and saw marks on their antiquities? Why don’t buyers refrain from purchasing undocumented antiquities that bear unexplained soil and saw marks?

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February 1, 2015

Operation Aureus-Hieratica: Egyptian-Spanish antiquities trafficking may have funded Islamic State

The details of Operation Aureus (within Spain, Operation Hieratica) – a massive and remarkable Europol-coordinated, Interpol-assisted, UNESCO-supported investigation – are beginning to emerge. (Paul Barford has been keeping track of the news.) Now, a new report claims that the Egyptian-Spanish antiquities supply line was run to fund the Islamic State [but no evidence has yet been presented].

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January 6, 2015

antiquities looted during unrest in Egypt are reaching public markets in the West

I’ll write more about this soon, but I can’t right now. Suffice to say, undocumented Egyptian antiquities, which were evidently looted Egyptian antiquities, reached an Australian auction house. (I saw this story via Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE.) They had been looted ‘in the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution and its consequent security lapse’, which Tristan Summerscale and George Richards’ audio documentary, Gleaming in the Dust, explores very well.

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September 27, 2014

ISIS have destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor

I’m on the road at the moment, but I haven’t been able to outrun the bad news. I first heard claims that the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church had been destroyed through the Antiquities Coalition (@CombatLooting); then, while I was querying the unevidenced report and debunking community activists’ fabricated evidence, JP (@AgenerationXer) sent me the evidence that corroborated the claims.

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September 8, 2014

It is not the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Ephraim in Mosul, Iraq; it is the Coptic Church of Saint Tadros in Minya, Egypt

The co-founders of Iraq Heritage, (Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre) Luay Al Khatteeb and (Executive Director of Iraq Heritage) Aymen Jawad have highlighted the urgency of saving vulnerable minorities – such as Christians, Yazidis, Shia Turkmen and Shabak – in Iraq.

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September 8, 2014

Does the ‘e’ in eBay stand for ‘easy’? Antiquities from India, Egypt or Ukraine, via the US, Turkey or Cyprus…

Archaeologist-lawyer Tess Davis saw an advert for an Ancient Sarcophagus with Hieroglyphics from Egypt on Facebook. As she said, ‘shame!’ But it’s difficult to know where to begin. Obviously, neither Facebook nor eBay vets adverts for suspect products (which are, presumably, automatically selected by computer algorithms), and eBay doesn’t vet the material that is sold directly through it either.

Their immediate defence is that the sellers are responsible for the things that they sell (or mis-sell to evade vetting); there is too much material for them to vet; and they are proactive when they are notified of a problem. As archaeologist Paul Barford lamented of the online trade in metal-detected antiquities from Britain, ‘this has been going on day-after-day, week after week, almost since the beginning’ of eBay in 1995.

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July 23, 2014

Are these the photos being used to further terrify Christian refugees from Mosul?

On the evening news, San Diego 6 reported an international story that was all too close to home: ‘Local Iraqis worry about family still in Iraq as ISIS ramps up threats.’ After repeated waves of forced migration, there are already more than 35,000 Chaldean Catholic Iraqi refugees (and descendants) in the San Diego area alone.

It was a powerful interview, with a relative of an endangered family, by a concerned journalist. The risk to the community in Iraq is grimly real, and the anxiety of the community in the diaspora (in this case, in the United States) is unimaginable, but they are being subjected to psychological torture through propaganda as well as lethal violence. Incidentally, the paper trail for this report may indicate the source of the “confirmed” rumours of undocumented destruction.

Islamists, do not try to use my research for your propaganda: the Islamic State’s bigotry and violence is all too real.

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