Posts tagged ‘Ukraine’

August 17, 2015

APAA appeal on archaeological work in Ukraine’s Russia-occupied/annexed Crimea

[I am still on jury duty. I wrote this on the weekend.]

Last year, I considered (and summarised) the possibilities for excavation in Crimea under annexation. On the 6th of August 2015, the All-Ukrainian Public Association of Archaeologists (APAA) issued an appeal to archaeologists of the Russian Federation. It has been published in Ukrainian, Russian and English and it is being discussed on Facebook. (I have corrected typos and clarified the translation of a few words or phrases.)

August 17, 2015

Chersonesus: nationalist state annexation and internationalist professional resistance

[I am still on jury service. I wrote this on the weekend.]

Having annexed Crimea territorially on the 18th of March 2014 (a month after which, the Ukraine-licensed archaeologists at Chersonesus were attacked by gunmen), the Russian state redoubled its efforts to annex Crimea culturally. On the 4th of December 2014, President Vladmimir Putin repeated an age-old Russian nationalist historical narrative and insisted that it was ‘in Crimea, in ancient Chersonesus, or Korsun as the Russian chroniclers called it, that Prince Vladimir took baptism, before he baptized all of Rus’‘.

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.

July 11, 2014

When and by whom Kyiv History Museum was looted are not unknown. Officers of the Yanukovych regime did it on the 18th-19th of February 2014.

This is just a note to highlight that, early in the unrest in Ukraine, on the night of the 18th-19th of February, 64 artefacts, worth around $200,000, were stolen from Kyiv History Museum(1) and the City Hall Museum in Ukrainian House. They included icons, a gospel and various other objects. A greater number of antiquities and artworks were damaged or destroyed.

June 10, 2014

Ukraine: illicit antiquities trade recap

Behind the fog of war and the smoke of the propaganda machine, there is evidence that Ukraine’s kleptocratic former regime engaged in illicit antiquities collecting, whether through the embezzlement of cultural goods from museums or the purchase of illegally excavated archaeological material. The grey nature of the antiquities market facilitates money laundering, so its investigation will contribute to financial asset recovery and prosecution of powerful, transnational criminal networks, as well as cultural property restitution and the minimisation of harm to the cultural heritage/tourist economy.

May 2, 2014

appeal for information on cultural property that needs to be protected in Ukraine

The U.S.A. and its allies are preparing for any eventuality in the crisis in Ukraine, including military action; so, they are preparing to avoid and protect cultural property. People should not read too much into this activity: it is a requirement of the 1954 Hague Convention, and it is not only done when there will be military action, but it is a sign that intervention is a serious possibility.

April 29, 2014

Will the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery (UFAR) trace looted cultural property?

The U.K. and U.S.-organised, international Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery (UFAR) will bring together governmental, policy, legal, financial and regulatory experts to support the tracing and recovery of Ukrainian assets that were ‘looted under the Yanukovych regime‘ (through establishing networks, sharing techniques, teaching best practice, building capacity…). Though there has been no explicit statement that any cultural experts are participating in the Forum, Ukrainian prosecutors want to recover billions of dollars in cash and property.

April 23, 2014

caution in discussion of violence amidst propaganda, provocation and fear

Because of local community choices, I have been reluctant to discuss violence against the cultural property of minority communities in Ukraine.

April 22, 2014

the Memorial to Victims of the Holocaust in Sevastopol has been desecrated again

The Memorial to Victims of the Holocaust (памятник Жертвам холокоста) in Sevastopol has been desecrated again (опять). Vandals painted out the word “victims” (and related grammar) so that its name read “Monument to the Holocaust”.

April 22, 2014

Ukrainian law on transfer of cultural property for safety

Ukraine is continuing preparations for the protection of its cultural heritage. Its Cabinet of Ministers has empowered its Ministry of Culture to keep cultural property abroad, when it would otherwise be at risk of loss or destruction (знищення) – for example, when it would be in occupied territory or endangered areas (such as the Crimean peninsula or the south-eastern mainland).

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