Cultural Heritage News

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  • 16 May 2016 8:45 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Capacity building in Cuba on protection of the underwater heritage


    11 May 2016/ UNESCO Havana/Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

    The city of Santiago de Cuba will host the Foundation Course on Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage, using Admiral Pascual Cervera’s sunken fleet as a case study, from 16 to 27 May.

    The capacity building is organized in the framework of the project “Protection and management of underwater and coastal cultural heritage for job creation in Santiago de Cuba”, financed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and coordinated by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, jointly with the National Cultural Heritage Council of Cuba, the Centre for Underwater Cultural and Natural Heritage Management and Conservation of Santiago de Cuba (founded after the project had started), and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO, among other national stakeholders, and with the support of the AECID Technical Cooperation Office in Cuba
  • 16 May 2016 8:40 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Syrian agency fights to save country’s archaeological heritage

    By Slobodan Lekic

    Stars and Stripes

    Published: May 13, 2016

    DAMASCUS, Syria — The director of Syria’s antiquities agency patted the head of a dark-grey falcon statuette in a corner of his office and smiled broadly.

    “This is a fake antiquity. It was meant for American buyers,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, general director of Antiquities and Museums. “The forgers intended it to be sold as the real, historic Maltese Falcon, not the movie prop.”

  • 16 May 2016 8:38 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    CHTHO asks Iranians abroad to report smuggled artifacts

    May 14, 2016

    TEHRAN– Iran’s tourism chief Masoud Soltanifar asked Iranians abroad to report smuggled artifacts and antiquities to Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization (CHTHO).

    In an announcement, he asked Iranians who live in different countries to give information about stolen Iranian artifacts existed in other countries to the organization via its website

    A collection of ancient Persian seals, which had been smuggled to the U.S. in 2002 have been returned to Iran recently.

    Last year, Italy returned to Iran some 30 stolen artifacts that had been smuggled to the European country during the past 10 years. 

  • 09 May 2016 9:39 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Greece looks to international justice to regain Parthenon marbles from UK

    As 200th anniversary of artefacts’ removal approaches, Greek culture minister says government will appeal to courts and the likes of UN Helena Smith in Athens

    Greece has not abandoned the idea of resorting to international justice to repatriate the Parthenon marbles and is investigating new ways in which it might bring a claim against the British Museum.

    As campaigners prepare to mark the 200th anniversary of the antiquities’ “captivity” in London, Athens is working at forging alliances that would further empower its longstanding battle to retrieve the sculptures.

    “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum,” the country’s culture minister, Aristides Baltas, revealed in an interview.

  • 02 May 2016 9:32 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Drive to bring home stolen heritage

    India Pride Project aims to restitute artefacts smuggled out of country

    Published: 20:40 April 29, 2016 Gulf News

    By Sandhya R Rajayer Special to Gulf News

    New Delhi: In 2003, Jaipur-based art dealer Vaman Ghiya was arrested and confessed to having stolen and exported more than 10,000 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, idols and a dismantled Mughal pavilion the size of a house. Ghiya was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment, But in January 2014 that conviction was quashed by an appeals court because of procedural irregularities during the police prosecution.

    Then in 2011, Indian-born Subhash Kapoor who owned the Art of The Past art gallery in New York, was arrested after US Homeland Security investigators raided Kapoor’s warehouses and found a cache of 2,622 stolen artefacts and evidence that led to an illicit business worth more than a $100 million (Dh367 million). He is at present on trial in Chennai. But the heritage art community fears that justice may not be served this time either.

  • 28 Apr 2016 11:00 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Stolen Buddhist Artifact Returned to Pakistan



         MANHATTAN (CN) — Prosecutors said a 2nd-century Buddhist sculpture was returned to Pakistan after an art dealer's plan to sell the stolen artifact for $1.1 million was foiled.
         Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Wednesday that the Kushan Period artifact, which depicts the "footprint of the Buddha," was given back to the country during a repatriation ceremony.
         The Buddhapada sculpture was stolen from an archeological site in Pakistan's Swat Region in the 1980s and was recovered after this year's arrest and prosecution of art dealer Tatsuzo Kaku, according to Vance.
         Prosecutors say Kaku, 70, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

  • 28 Apr 2016 10:58 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Native American Determination for Kennewick Man

    Based upon review and analysis of new information related to the skeleton known as Kennewick Man,

    and in particular, evidence provided by recently published DNA and skeletal analyses, I find that there is substantial evidence to determine that Kennewick Man is related to modern Native Americans from the United States. Therefore, the human remains are Native American under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), as described below. 


  • 28 Apr 2016 10:56 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Kennewick Man Was Native American After All



         PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Kennewick Man, a 9,000-year-old skeleton that created a furor when scientists said it appeared to be from a European settler, was Native American after all, the Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday.
         The discovery of the almost complete skeleton along the Columbia River in 1996 led to two decades of controversy.
         Named for the town near the site where two college students stumbled upon the skeleton, Kennewick Man created heated debate over who owned the remains, and its genetic origins.

  • 27 Apr 2016 1:19 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Apathy towards antiquities

      A. Srivathsan

    With poor documentation of existing and stolen artefacts, outdated laws, and unqualified investigative agencies, India’s record in preserving its past is deplorable

    The Indian government’s response in the Kohinoor case has exposed its insensate ignorance. It not only got the facts wrong, but appeared embarrassingly out of depth in understanding restitution of antiquities. Given the poor track record in restitution, it seems unlikely that India will get the Kohinoor back. But the greater worry is its apathy towards antiquities. While countries such as Italy have not only successfully pursued stolen artefacts abroad but also effectively protected them locally, India, which is equally archaeologically rich and a victim of illicit trading, is far from it.

    Studies have exhaustively documented the origins of the Kohinoor diamond in India, its complicated trail, and its eventual placement in the British royal crown. History does not leave to doubt that Lord Dalhousie forcefully acquired it from the young king Duleep Singh in 1849 when the East India Company annexed Punjab. Dalhousie compelled Singh to gift the diamond to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria as a “memorial of conquest”. However, later, as historian Danielle Kinsey’s research would show, Singh unsuccessfully demanded the return of the diamond.

  • 27 Apr 2016 1:15 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    ISIS Destroys Two Gates in Ancient City of Nineveh

    Members of ISIS have destroyed two large gates in Iraq’s ancient city of Nineveh, which once served as the capital of the Neo-Assyrian empire. Michael Danti, co-director of the American Schools of Oriental Research’s Cultural Heritage Initiative (CHI) and archaeology professor at Boston University, last week confirmed the destruction of the Nergal and Mashki Gates based on photographic evidence. CHI obtained the images from “trusted sources” in Mosul, who also verified their legitimacy. The initiative is an international collaborative effort that works with the US State Department to document the conditions of heritage sites in Syria and Iraq.

    An image shared exclusively on National Geographic reveals a backhoe crossing a flat landscape surrounded by a cloud of dust. While ISIS often uses explosives to blow up archaeological sites, it has been known to favor heavy construction equipment as well, so such a technique would align with the group’s past cultural crimes.

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