Posts tagged ‘Syria’

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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October 31, 2016

conflict antiquities, from Libya to Italy and from Syria to Belgium, and lack of due diligence in the international market

Fortunately and unfortunately, I’m going to be staying in Turkey longer than expected, so I won’t be able to go to the International Arts and Antiquities Security Forum (@IAAS_Forum). Happily, the CEO of ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, which has its own conference in Amelia, Italy every June), Lynda Albertson, is going to speak instead.

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April 28, 2016

ISIS and the missing treasures, the missing treasures and ISIS?

Last year, Simon Cox led a team who investigated ISIS: Looting for Terror for the BBC (File on 4). Since then, he has led a team who have investigated ISIS and the Missing Treasures for Channel 4 (Dispatches). On both occasions, they have done solid investigative work and secured new evidence of antiquities trafficking. My queries do not detract from that work.

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April 13, 2016

Of fingers and forgeries – illicit Palmyrene art

In the original title of my previous post, I asked, does one of the ‘recently excavated Palmyrene statues’ have six fingers? In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, some people seem to have (mis)understood it as a denial of the existence of polydactyly (where people have more than five digits on one or more of their hands and/or feet).

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April 13, 2016

Were these ‘Palmyrene statues’ ‘recently excavated’? At least one appears to be a forgery.

I had been planning to leave this note until later, as I am supposed to be writing – and, my dear and unduly patient editors, I am writing – something on iconoclasm. However, since the evidence is being discussed, I felt I should write this now. Looking at the two ‘Palmyrene statues’ that have recently been sold through a ‘public auction in Raqqa’, I believe that at least one is fake (though I would defer to any expert, as I am not one).

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February 17, 2016

I am not there. I have not said that. I could not say that. I do not know that.

I appreciate that this information is being circulated by someone who is trying to secure funding for research and analysis in which I would be involved. And I appreciate that this information might be characterised as a derivation of things that I have said. However, I cannot accept its circulation, especially as it affiliates me with a different university and it claims that I am performing work outside my current contract, for which I would need a visa that I do not have. I do not know amongst whom it is being circulated.

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December 23, 2015

Syria-Lebanon antiquities smuggling involves transport in meat trucks as well as shipment in private planes

I noted before that conflict antiquities trafficking involves ‘petty theft as well as grand larceny, burglaries by fundraisers outside as well as plunder by combatants in the war zone’. Likewise, it’s important to note that it involves transport in meat trucks as well as shipment in private planes.

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December 10, 2015

Is the “wine chalice” “from Palmyra Museum” a modern bucket from someone’s house?

Last week, Classical archaeologist and art historian Vladimir Stissi looked at the ‘pretty crude fakes’ “from Palmyra Museum”. Highlighting the importance of scales in photos, Stissi observed,

As far as I can judge from the photo, the bucket does not look like a fake in the strict sense, but rather like a 19th-20th century decorative household utensil, or kitsch for domestic display. The patina looks very un-ancient. The relief decoration seems to be freely based on famous Roman sculptures.

December 10, 2015

Schlagzeile geht schneller als Recherche – über die journalistische Arbeit zum Antikenraub [Headlines move faster than research – on journalistic work on antiquities looting]

Esther Saoub and Amir Musawy have published a clear, helpful (German-language) article about Abu Sayyaf’s antiquities stash and how headlines move faster than research – on journalistic work on antiquities looting [Schlagzeile geht schneller als Recherche – über die journalistische Arbeit zum Antikenraub].

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