Cultural Heritage News

  • 22 Jun 2015 7:52 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    UK to adopt Hague Convention to protect artefacts in war zones

    • 21 June 2015

    A major international agreement designed to protect cultural property during military conflict is to be finally ratified by the UK.

    The 1954 Hague Convention was set up after World War Two but has never been adopted into law by the government.

    Culture Secretary John Whittingdale says destruction and looting in Syria and Iraq by Islamic State militants shows it is now essential.

    The UK is the only major nation not to have endorsed the convention

  • 15 Jun 2015 9:07 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Explosion destroys ancient cultural heritage site in Yemen capital

    By Rick Gladstone New York Times   June 13, 2015

    NEW YORK — A protected 2,500-year-old cultural heritage site in Yemen’s capital was obliterated in an explosion early Friday, and witnesses and news reports said the cause was a missile or bomb from Saudi Arabia-led warplanes. The Saudi military denied responsibility.

    The top antiquities-safeguarding official at the United Nations angrily condemned the destruction of ancient multistory homes, towers, and gardens by the explosion, which also killed an unspecified number of residents in a neighborhood in Sana’s Old City area.

  • 15 Jun 2015 9:04 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    How We Can Prevent ISIS From Pillaging Palmyra

    By Matthew Hall 6/14/15 at 1:04 PM

    If the United States and its partners are serious about defeating the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), they must deny the terror group a major source of its funding: proceeds from the illegal antiquities trade.  

    Until now, the effort to halt the looting and resale of Iraq and Syria’s heritage has been piecemeal and peripheral to the overall “degrade and destroy” strategy; the effort to choke the multimillion-dollar black market for antiquities should be seen as on par—and taken in tandem—with the effort to choke the black market for oil.

  • 11 Jun 2015 1:09 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Antiquities: An Open Market Won’t Stop Smuggling

    Having an open market for the trade of antiquities won’t deter smuggling. What India actually needs is significant changes in Antiquities and Art Treasures Act 1972 to contain the smugglers and send out warning signals to those who buy these treasures

    S Vijay Kumar

    11 Jun, 2015

    The culture ministry has a simple solution for tackling the ceaseless menace of India’s best-kept secret. In the past two decades, over 30,000 priceless artefacts have been smuggled out of the country, often stolen from temples or from centrally protected Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sites. And what is the fix? Dilute an already toothless Antiquity Act of 1972. “We want this act to be revised. …in India, anything more than of 100 years of value comes under the antiquity act. Let India have an open market. Once we allow the trade of those antiquities in India, this smuggling will stop,” Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma told PTI in an interview. 

    Antiquities: An Open Market Won’t Stop Smuggling

  • 10 Jun 2015 11:03 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    'Blood antiquities': a wound the world struggles to staunch

    "UNESCO has no blue helmets," its deputy heritage director Mechtild Rossler told Reuters, using the common jargon for United Nations' peacekeepers.

    "We work with three people... So what do you want us to do?"


  • 10 Jun 2015 8:55 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    'Cave of the Skulls' Robbers Get Prison Term in Israel

    A band of antiquities thieves were sentenced to 18 months in prison after being caught red-handed looting an ancient cave in Israel.

    The six thieves were caught plundering the 2,000-year-old archaeological site known as the "Cave of the Skulls." In the process, they destroyed some of the cliffside where the cave was located.

  • 09 Jun 2015 1:59 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Islamic State isn’t just destroying ancient artifacts — it’s selling them

    By Loveday Morris June 8 at 10:04 PM

    BAGHDAD — Islamic State militants have provoked a global outcry by attacking ancient monuments with jackhammers and bulldozers. But they also have been quietly selling off smaller antiquities from Iraq and Syria, earning millions of dollars in an increasingly organized pillaging of national treasures, according to officials and experts.

    The Islamic State has defended its destruction of cultural artifacts by saying they are idolatrous and represent pre-Islamic cultures. Behind the scenes, though, the group’s looting has become so systematic that the Islamic State has incorporated the practice into the structure of its self-
    declared caliphate, granting ­licenses for digging at historic sites through a department of “precious resources.”

  • 02 Jun 2015 2:34 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Museums draw up 'red list' to help spot stolen Iraqi antiquities

    Museum experts from around the world on Monday issued an "emergency red list" to help authorities identify Iraqi antiquities at risk of being looted and illegally exported as the country battles a surge in jihadist violence.

    The list from the Paris-based International Council of Museums (ICOM) highlights objects that are popular on the black market such as sculptures, stone tablets, vases and coins, and tells customs and police officers how to spot stolen ancient treasures.

  • 02 Jun 2015 2:30 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    House bill targets ISIS profits from cultural destruction

    By Cristina Marcos

    The House passed legislation on Monday to help prevent the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from reaping profits from damage to cultural heritage sites.

    Passed by voice vote, the measure would restrict U.S. imports on archaeological material from Syria. A similar ban is already in effect for Iraq.

    Lawmakers said the measure would limit the ability of ISIS to wipe reminders of history from the face of the Earth and make monetary profits in the process by selling ancient artifacts on the black market.

  • 02 Jun 2015 8:25 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Federal agents comb records for disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor's sales and gifts

    Authorities claim that Kapoor organised global trade in stolen Asian antiquities, casting doubt on some of his gifts to international museums

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hosted a private reception in 2009 for the Manhattan-based, Indian-born art dealer Subhash Kapoor to honour his donation of dozens of Indian drawings. But even as he was being feted, the illegitimate side of Kapoor’s success was beginning to come to light.

    The reception marked a high point for Kapoor who had built his Madison Avenue showroom, Art of the Past, into a leading source of Asian art for museums and collectors around the world. Kapoor had carefully cultivated that status with donations of Indian paintings and the sale of rare South and South-east Asian antiquities to leading museums including the Met, which today has 81 objects fr om the dealer in its collection.

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