Cultural Heritage News

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  • 18 Aug 2015 7:31 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Strapped for Cash, Some Greeks Turn to Ancient Source of Wealth

    Greece’s financial crisis is causing a spike in illegal excavations and swelling the ranks of looters with first-time offenders.

    By Nick Romeo, National Geographic

    PUBLISHED August 17, 2015

    ATHENS—Recently police in Greece have noted a spike in a surprising kind of crime: People with no prior criminal record are looting Greek antiquities.

    One sign of the problem: a sharp rise in applications for metal detector permits. Because metal detectors are used to find ancient coins and artifacts, the Greek government tracks purchases of the devices and typically grants use permits only to people without a criminal record. “The numbers have increased, and this is related to the economic crisis,” Lieutenant Monovasios said.


  • 17 Aug 2015 8:25 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    To catch an idol thief

    Amulya GopalakrishnanAmulya Gopalakrishnan,TNN | Aug 16, 2015, 12.00 AM IST

    What is an antiquity? It could be an idol in a shrine, a piece of jewellery passed on from your grandmother, or a casually bought souvenir that is much older than you realize. These are all covered under the Antiquities Act of 1972, but the ethics of owning and circulating them are not the same.

    Despite a stringent law, antiquities continually stream out of India. Their owners secretly sell them abroad, flouting export restrictions. The ongoing Chennai trial of Manhattan-based art dealer Subhash Kapoor, reveals how antiquities are spirited across the border by a network of smugglers and dealers, sold to museums, galleries and collectors.


  • 12 Aug 2015 8:56 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Ratification by Austria of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 14 November 1970)

    On 15 July 2015, Austria deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

    In accordance with the terms of Article 21, the Convention will enter into force with respect to Austria three months after the deposit of the instrument of ratification, that is to say on 15 October 2015. 

  • 10 Aug 2015 11:33 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Museum Says Donor Gave It Looted Art


    HONOLULU (CN) - The Honolulu Art Museum sued a donor for $880,000, claiming he cannot prove the art for which it has been paying him $80,000 a year did not come from a smuggling ring.

         The Honolulu Academy of Arts dba the Honolulu Art Museum sued Joel Alexander Greene in state court, claiming he has not provided documents he promised to establish the provenance of "five of the objects from his collection of Southeast Asian art," valued at $1.3 million.

  • 05 Aug 2015 6:13 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Men Get Jail Term For Digging Up Civil War Artifacts


    Updated: 10:06 am

    Chattanooga (WDEF) - Federal Judge Curtis Collier sentenced two East Tennessee men to jail time for digging up Civil War artifacts. 

    39-year old Kenneth Fagin, Jr. from South Pittsburg and 61-year old Terry Tate from Manchester will serve 30 months in federal prison.

  • 04 Aug 2015 2:42 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    India struggles to halt multimillion dollar trade in stolen artworks

    New York-based art dealer due in court over sale of hundreds of items police claim were stolen from country’s temples Jason Burke in Chennai

    Monday 3 August 2015 11.17 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 4 August 2015 12.01 EDT

    The police officers had waited since mid-morning. Hidden among the bustle of an Indian market, they watched, handguns at the ready. Around them, women haggled for vegetables and hurried office workers bought cheap fried chicken. Shortly after noon, the officers saw their target: a motorised rickshaw, carrying a cargo rarely found in this ordinary neighbourhood in the southern city of Chennai.

    Within minutes, a 38-year-old suspect was in custody and two 11th-century bronze idols worth several million dollars were safely stowed in an official lockup. The only police squad in India dedicated to fighting the longstanding problem of the theft of valuable idols from the country’s temples to sell on international markets had chalked up another successful operation.

  • 31 Jul 2015 2:39 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Looters find path to export antiquities via Lebanon

    Author: Al-Nahar (Lebanon)Posted July 30, 2015

    The Middle East is the oldest region in the world. It goes without saying that it is greatly rich in historical symbols of the many civilizations that have lived there throughout time, whose people left remnants marking their existence. This made the region a permanent stock for artifacts of various sizes and types, turning it into a focus point for traders and smugglers from all over the world.

    In order to protect and conserve these monuments that belong to humanity as a whole, smuggling was made an illegal act. Most countries signed international agreements preventing the “illicit trafficking of antiquities” and made cooperation protocols to retrieve the stolen artifacts and bring them back to the country of origin to which they naturally belong

    Read more: 

  • 30 Jul 2015 2:06 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    India demands return of objects stolen from its temples

     New Delhi  |  30 July 2015  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

    During her upcoming visit in India, Angela Merkel will provide the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, a statue of the deity Durga. This statue was stolen from an Indian temple and purchased by a German museum. India has called for the restitution of several objects that were pillaged from archaeological sites.

    Subhash Kapoor, an American gallery owner of Indian origin, sold the statue of the deity Durga, valued at $250,000, to a German museum. He was arrested in 2011 for having resold a series of pieces stolen from Indian temples. 30 of these objects were notably purchased by the Asian Civilizations Museum of Singapore, such as a Buddha statue dating from the thirteenth century, and manuscripts of the Mahabharata that are over four centuries old. India is in talks with Singapore to have these archaeological artefacts returned, but it must nonetheless show proof that the pieces were stolen.

  • 30 Jul 2015 2:04 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Grassley sponsoring bill to restrict ISIS profiting from sale of antiquities

    Grassley sponsoring bill to restrict ISIS profiting from sale of antiquities

    Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to put the “moral authority of criminal law” behind stopping ISIS from funding terrorism

    James Q. Lynch, The Gazette

    July 29, 2015 | 6:12 pm

    CEDAR RAPIDS — Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to put the “moral authority of criminal law” behind stopping ISIS from funding terrorism through the sale of historical artifacts.

    He’s part of a bipartisan effort to restrict ISIS trafficking in stolen artifacts, including the sale of those antiquities in the United States. ISIS, he said, has pillaged historical artifacts while ransacking cities and then sold those antiquities on the black market. The Congressional Research Services estimates black market sales of artifacts may be ISIS’ second-leading source of revenue behind the sale of oil.

  • 27 Jul 2015 8:59 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    ICE, CBP seize illegally imported ancient Roman coins

    CLEVELAND – One hundred and ninety ancient Roman coins that were illegally imported into the United States from the United Arab Emirates were seized by officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

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