Cultural Heritage News

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  • 18 Aug 2014 1:34 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    The Lure of Antiquities

    LONDON undefined Antiquities are the art world’s niche market of the moment. Last month in London, sculptures from ancient Egypt and ancient Rome sold for 15.8 million pounds and £9.4 million respectively, setting the highest prices at Christie’s and Sotheby’s summer auctions of pre-20th-century works. At the same time, the British capital is reinforcing its reputation as the world’s leading art souk, where the international rich can buy masterpieces from just about any culture and era, with the opening of four galleries specializing in museum-quality objects from the ancient world.

    The rise in sales of stellar objects from Egypt, Greece, Rome and other ancient civilizations can be attributed in part to their timeless appeal. They’re attracting purchases from contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Marc Quinn, as well as impulse buyers from other collecting fields. The diversity of this client base, as well as the museum-proven quality of the artifacts themselves, make antiquities consistent sellers at international art fairs like Tefaf Maastricht and Frieze Masters.

  • 18 Aug 2014 7:38 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Lost in Translation: Germany’s Fascination With the American Old West

    AUG. 17, 2014

    RADEBEUL, Germany undefined Hans Grunert is no stranger to requests from Native Americans regarding the display of sacred items among the headdresses, moccasins, jewelry and hundreds of other artifacts at the Karl May Museum, housed in a faux-log cabin behind a stately 19th-century villa in this eastern German town.

    Since the museum’s opening in 1928, a Blackfoot medicine man has held a smoke ceremony for the peace pipe collection, and Lakota have made recommendations on how to display the contents of medicine bags in a way that appeases the spirits.

  • 18 Aug 2014 7:37 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Looted Shiva left outside for repair

    INDIAN police have revealed that an 1100-year-old Hindu sculpture of Shiva with his hands broken off was stolen from ­beneath a peepol tree in a temple complex, after it was taken outside for unauthorised repairs.

    The solid, 112cm-high stone carving was then smuggled from India to New York, where in 2004 it was sold to the Art Gallery of NSW for $300,000.

    According to the theft report by local police in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Ardharishvarana was removed in 2002 along with seven other damaged sculptures from Vridhdhagiriswarar Temple.

  • 18 Aug 2014 7:27 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Stolen fragments from pyramid tomb to be returned from Germany
    Egypt Embassy in Germany received samples of King Khufu’s cartouche chopped off late last year
    Nevine El-Aref , Friday 15 Aug 2014
    On Friday, German authorities handed over to Egypt’s ambassador to Germany, Mohamed Hegazy, samples of King Khufu’s cartouche, taken illegally by two German archaeologists from a room found inside the Great Pyramid.  

    The samples are due to arrive in Egypt within a week, to be examined and restored if necessary before being returned to their original positions inside the pyramid in Giza.

  • 18 Aug 2014 7:24 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Iraq's archaeological treasures at risk of

    Members of the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) in July seized the Mosul Museum of Cultural Heritage, officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities confirmed.

    Urging Iraqis to help authorities track and retrieve the stolen antiquities and collectibles, officials lamented the loss of property and archaeological treasures.

    Built in 1952, the Mosul Museum is the second largest and oldest museum in the country, following the National Museum in Baghdad.


  • 14 Aug 2014 11:19 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Nighthawkers hitting more archaeological sites

    Unauthorized excavations and thefts at historic and prehistoric sites are becoming a growing problem in Finland. Professional archaeologists say information on sites and earlier finds should be restricted to make them less tempting targets. Officials disagree.

    It is believed that the recent spate of illegal digging is mainly the work of "nighthawkers" - people with metal detectors who work illegally at night to remove artefacts from archaeological sites.

    Over the past six years, Finland's National Board of Antiquities has dealt with about 30 cases of illegal digging and the theft of artefacts from prehistoric and historic sites. So far this year, the Board of Antiquities has dealt with four serious cases. Many more, it is thought go unnoticed or unreported.

  • 14 Aug 2014 7:21 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    New to the Archaeologist’s Tool Kit: The Drone

    CHEPÉN, Peru undefined A small remote-controlled helicopter buzzed over ancient hilltop ruins here, snapping hundreds of photographs. Below, stone walls built more than a thousand years ago by the Moche civilization gave way to a grid of adobe walls put up only recently by what officials said were land speculators.

    “This site is threatened on every side,” said Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, Peru’s vice minister of cultural heritage as he piloted the drone aircraft.

    Archaeologists around the world, who have long relied on the classic tools of their profession, like the trowel and the plumb bob, are now turning to the modern technology of drones to defend and explore endangered sites. And perhaps nowhere is the shift happening as swiftly as in Peru, where Dr. Castillo has created a drone air force to map, monitor and safeguard his country’s ancient treasures.


  • 12 Aug 2014 3:26 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Chinese group appeals to Japan's emperor over artefact

    Published on Aug 12, 2014 1:11 PM
    6 0 0 0PRINTEMAIL

    BEIJIN (AFP) - A Chinese organisation has appealed to Japan's Emperor Akihito to return a 1,300 year-old stele taken from China over a century ago, state media reported.

    The Honglujing Stele was "looted by Japanese soldiers early last century from northeastern China", the official Xinhua news agency said, and now sits in "virtual seclusion" in Japan's Imperial Palace.

    The stone monument, 1.8 metres tall and three metres wide, shows that the first king of the northeast Asian Bohai kingdom was given his title by a Chinese emperor from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the report said.

    - See more at:

  • 12 Aug 2014 8:40 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Stolen Valley Durga in Stuttgart, ASI builds case for its return

    Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | August 12, 2014 2:55 am The Tengpora Durga, on the cover of art expert Pratapaditya Pal’s book.

    A rare 1,300-year-old stone Durga that disappeared from a small temple in Kashmir at the height of militancy in the mid-1990s has been located at the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart in southern Germany.

    Two experts from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) visited the Linden-Museum this May, and the ASI last week submitted several documents to the museum through New Delhi’s embassy in Berlin in order to make India’s claim over the idol “absolutely watertight”, officials said.

  • 11 Aug 2014 7:50 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Losing Maya Heritage to Looters

    Stolen artifacts are making it from the Guatemalan jungle to wealthy black-market buyers.

    Erik Vance

    for National Geographic

    Published August 8, 2014

    Deep in the jungle in the north of Guatemala, along deep-rutted 4x4 tracks, the pyramids of the great Maya city of Xultún are hidden under heavy vegetation and oddly symmetrical hills. But crudely cut tunnels in the sides of the hills signal a modern intrusion.

    The tunnels are the work of "huecheros"undefinedthe local slang term for antiquity looters, derived from the Maya word for armadillo. On a building overlooking an ancient plaza, the looters scrawl a message, brazen and taunting: "We, the huecheros, stuck it to this place."

    Almost every pyramid in the sprawling site has a looter's tunnel on at least one side. Most of the hieroglyphic panels, the pottery, and the jade from tombs here have been raided and sold on the black market to wealthy foreigners. One of the tallest pyramidsundefineda majestic building that slices high in the air like the Temple of the Great Jaguarundefinedwas actually cut in half by looters, making it look like a giant stone napkin holder.

    Xultún is part of an international trade in Maya antiquities that spread across much of the region in the 1980s and '90s and has scraped away what little opportunity was left to modern scientists to understand the people who once lived here. This amputation of cultural historyundefinedin many ways stretching back to the conquest of the New Worldundefinedhas left us with far more questions than answers about the Maya.

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