Cultural Heritage News

  • 06 Sep 2014 1:39 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney and FBI Assistant Director in Charge Announce the Repatriation of Nine Stolen Miguel Cabrera Paintings to the Republic of Peru

    U.S. Attorney’s Office September 05, 2014
    • Southern District of New York(212) 637-2600
    • FBI New York Press Office(212) 384-2100

    Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the repatriation of nine stolen 18th century paintings to the Republic of Peru.

    Miguel Cabrera was an 18th century Mexican painter. He is considered one of the most important painters of his time in New Spain, an area that included present-day Mexico and Central America. Cabrera painted for the Archbishop and for the Jesuit order, and therefore many of Cabrera’s works were religious in nature. Of the nine paintings that are being returned to Peru, “Resurrection of Lazarus” is perhaps the most recognized and the finest example of Cabrera’s talent.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “We are pleased to return these nine Miguel Cabrera paintings. They are part of Peru’s cultural heritage, but they were stolen from a church in Lima six years ago and smuggled out of Peru to be trafficked on the international art market. Our Office is committed to ensuring that stolen artwork, especially when it is an important part of a nation’s cultural heritage, does not find a safe haven for resale in the Southern District of New York or elsewhere in the U.S.”


  • 04 Sep 2014 8:17 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Archaeologists Train "Monuments Men" to Save Syria's Past

    Amid the devastation and danger of civil war, Syrian archaeologists and activists are risking their lives in the battle against looting.

    Photo of Free Syrian Army fighters walking with their weapons in the Umayyad mosque of Old Aleppo.

    Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble at Aleppo's Umayyad Mosque in December 2013.

    Photograph by Molhem Barakat, Reuters/Corbis

    Andrew Curry

    for National Geographic

    Published September 3, 2014

    The ancient city of Dura-Europos sits on a bluff above the Tigris River a few miles from Syria's border with Iraq, its mud-brick walls facing a bleak expanse of desert. Just a year ago the city's precise grid of streetsundefinedlaid down by Greek and Roman residents 2,000 years agoundefinedwas largely intact. Temples, houses, and a substantial Roman outpost were preserved for centuries by the desert sands.


    "It stood out for its remarkable preservation," says Simon James, an archaeologist at the U.K.'s University of Leicester who spent years studying the site's Roman garrison. "Until now." (See before and after pictures of archaeological site looting.)

    Satellite images of the site released by the U.S. State Department in June show a shocking picture of devastation. In the past year, as fighting continued to rage between the government of President Bashar al Assad's troops and rebelsundefinedincluding the Islamic State in Iraq and Syriaundefinedthe site has been ravaged by industrial-scale looting.

  • 02 Sep 2014 4:45 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Pre-hispanic archaeological treasure seized in Spain returns to Colombia

    Gonzalo Dominguez Loeda Sept. 2, 2014

    Bogota, Sep 2 (EFE).- Colombian officials have presented to the public 50 out of 691 archaeological pieces which were seized by Spanish police from drug traffickers 11 years ago in an anti-narcotics operation.

    The artifacts were returned to the South American country after almost a decade of study and cataloguing in the Museum of the Americas in Madrid.

    In a ceremony on Monday attended by officials of both countries, Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said that "words are not enough" to describe the items which belong to several pre-Colombian cultures and produced over a period of ten centuries.
  • 02 Sep 2014 2:02 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline

    The territorial gains made by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have provoked fears undefined as well as tentative news reports undefined that archaeological sites in those countries are being attacked and looted, much as sites in Iraq were at the outset of the second Iraq war.

    We have recently returned from southern Turkey, where we were training Syrian activists and museum staff preservationists to document and protect their country’s cultural heritage. That heritage includes remains from the ancient Mesopotamian, Assyrian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods, along with some of the earliest examples of writing and some of the best examples of Hellenistic, Roman and Christian mosaics.

  • 02 Sep 2014 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    The NY Times published an Oped about the relationship between ISIS and antiquities looting. Read the great piece here:

  • 02 Sep 2014 8:07 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Archaeological treasures trove

    Sometimes events combine to send a message. Over the past fortnight, three events in the cultural heritage field have occurred that offer cause for hope and concern. Together, they bring home to all that, lying in the ground that we walk on and in the seas that surround us, is a trove of archaeological treasures going back hundreds and, sometimes, thousands of years.

    Malta’s proximity to the major civilisations of the central Mediterranean, its involvement in the great conflicts of the region have given us a depth of history and cultural heritage disproportionate to our size. Due to our extraordinary 7,000-year history, we have, after Rome, the largest number of monuments and historic sites worthy of saving per square kilometre. Many of these even enjoy world heritage status.

  • 29 Aug 2014 2:29 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Meet the saviour of India's heritage

    Over the last decade, Kirit Mankodi, a Mumbai-based professor of Archaeology has been working hard to help recover the country’s stolen heritage and create an online profile of stolen Indian artworks

    In January 2014, Indian newspapers reported the return of three stolen sculptures undefined two amorous couples (known as Mithunas in Indian art), and a stone sculpture of a male deity from the US Immigration Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security to the Indian embassy. The three sculptures were valued at $1.5 million (Rs 9 crore). While the news widely featured and was appreciated by all Indian art lovers, very few are aware that it would have been impossible without the efforts of a Mumbai-based professor of Archaeology, Kirit Mankodi.

    Earlier, in 2010, Mankodi, an expert on Indian temples and sculptures, had helped Interpol trace the sculptures. He had identified one of the sculptures in an ad for sale in an international magazine. Mankodi immediately wrote emails to the Interpol and US Homeland Security with details about the sculptures, their place of origin and photographs of the site, before and after the theft. He also wrote emails to scholars, museums, art dealers and experts around the world to help locate the second one.

    Over the last decade, Kirit Mankodi, a Mumbai-based professor of Archaeology has been working hard to help recover the country’s stolen heritage and create an online profile of stolen Indian artworks

  • 28 Aug 2014 3:11 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Iraq and Syria’s cultural heritage face new threat from fanatics

    Fears grow that social media savvy Islamic State is exploiting monitors’ lists
  • 28 Aug 2014 8:45 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    The Parthenon marbles are the world's most beautiful art – and that's why we should give them back


    What can you do with the world's most beautiful art? Where does it belong? How should it be cared for and displayed?

    The art in question is the array of sculpture created in Athens in the 5th century BC to decorate the Parthenon, the temple to Athena that still, today, dominates the skyline of the Greek capital.

  • 28 Aug 2014 8:14 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    9th Circuit Rules For Repatriating Skeletons

    SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The 9th Circuit on Wednesday refused to overturn the repatriation of 9,000-year-old skeletons to the Kumeyaay Indian Tribes.

    In 2012, the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, consisting of 12 tribes in San Diego County, sued the University of California in the San Diego federal court. The tribes argued that the school was required to repatriate the remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

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