Saturday, 24 September 2016

Today


Poles demonstrated today against the government which divides the nation and leads it away from EU values. A great time was had by all KODers.

Cyprus promotes new convention to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property


In a move that hopefully will gather momentum, during its Presidency of the Council of Europe, between November 2016 to May 2017 Cyprus plans to organise a series of activities that would kick-start a new criminal law convention to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property (CNA News Service Cyprus promotes new convention to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property / Sept 23rd 2016)
Cyprus led a cross-regional Statement on the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts in the framework of the Human Rights Council. The statement was co-sponsored by a staggering number of 146 members and observer states of the HRC, thus [...] putting the issue of cultural heritage firmly in the Human Rights agenda.
The point is that the no-questions-asked buying of antiquities is simply a lack of respect by the buyers of the richer ('market') nations of the rights of the citizens of the countries whose past they so shamelessly and selfishly exploit. Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidesannounced that: 
in a few days, in collaboration with a core group of partners, Cyprus will present at the 33rd Session of the HRC in Geneva, a comprehensive Resolution on “Cultural rights and the protection of cultural heritage”. “Yet, what we see as imperative is the active role of the UN Security Council on this issue, and particularly on the crucial issue of the provenance of cultural artefacts. As you are well-aware, the main obstacle encountered in securing the restitution of looted cultural property is the proof of identification by the claimant country, especially for objects that have not been inventoried or adequately documented” [that is why dealers and collectors apparently routinely discard any documentation that they have for any antiquity PMB] the burden of proof must not fall to the claimant state for the blocking of auctioning suspicious objects and, eventually, for the restitution of artefacts. He pointed out that was is of most importance, is a robust UNSC Resolution through which purchases of artefacts originating from conflict zones are not considered “bona fide” purchases and which will apply universal limitations on the trade and transfer of artefacts originating from all conflict zones, with the obligation of proof of legitimate trade resting upon the traders, auction houses and buyers and not on the originating state.
and, in the circumstances, with trade-wide responsibility-laundering discarding of documentation of collecting history of the artefacts passing through it to avoid detection, this is how it now has to be. Dealers and collectors only have themselves to blame.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Egypt’s Malawi Museum Reopened Three Years After Being Trashed


Egypt’s Malawi National Museum, located in El Minya, reopened on Thursday three years after it was ransacked and partially torched.
The restoration, which cost around EGP 10 million and was partly financed by the Italian government, provides a more educational experience for visitors. Malawi National Museum was ransacked, looted, and parts of it torched in August 2013 during violence that followed the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi. More than 1,000 antiquities spanning 3,500 years of history were reported to have been stolen, with the few remaining pieces left damaged. However, according to state media Al-Ahram, the majority of the pieces were eventually recovered by the Egyptian government after police promised not to prosecute anyone returning looted antiquities.

One Born Every Minute


'Find' from Inverurie:
Antiques - Antiquities - British- 
"Metel detecting bronze find. Was found a lot of years ago and I have a pritty good idea this is very old."
Arrr obviously "write like a pirate week". Which goes to show you really should not trust anything a metal detectorist says. Somebody paid 225 quid for this on stubby-fingered seller's say-so.

hat-tip to David Gill

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Skittle Bigotry

Question for Tony Robinson


"My son Spike loves nature, and wants to become an ornithologist. Any advice? Is a pair of bird-nesting climbing boots a good present?"
Tony's answer,
tell him to join an ornithology club and, yes, the boots are a good idea but only if he does not use them "wantonly". Any eggs he pockets should be taken along to the local ornithologists who will make a record of them. Then it's OK.

WTF?

What I want to know is why after millions and millions of pounds thrown at "archaeological outreach to the British public" which has lasted twenty years - you get a dumbass question like that. IS artefact hunting and collecting archaeology? No. No more than nesting and bird egg collecting is ornithology. We'll never get those twenty years back, PAS.




Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Scandal at Roissy


« Pour expédier de simples éléments 
décoratifs
de jardin, on emploie rarement
de telles précautions. Il y avait de fortes suspicions
qu'il s'agisse de biens culturels», explique Christophe Verbois,
chef de la cellule de ciblage du fret aux douanes


Two reliefs from the choir of a church in the Euphrates valley have been seized at Roissy (Charles de Gaulle) airport by French Customs, they probably come from looting by ISIL (Nathalie Revenu, 'Un trésor archéologique saisi à Roissy' Le Parisien, 21 septembre 2016). The strong wooden box they were in was being sent in March from Lebanon to Thailand, and was declared as "decorative panels for the garden". Suspicions were raised however by the 180 kg weight and the way the items had been packed which suggested the contents were not modern pieces meant merely for decoration. When inspected, the crate was found to contain two beautiful reliefs carved in marble carefully protected by foam thicknesses.
ces pièces sont authentiques et proviennent « probablement de la moyenne vallée de l'Euphrate, dans la région du Levant Nord ». Une région qui englobe l'Irak et la Syrie. C'est cette dernière qui semble être le pays d'origine. « Cette paire de plaques a été datée entre le XIV e et le XVI e siècle. Elles constituaient une clôture de base du chœur d'une église, appelée chancel levantin. Ce mobilier liturgique apparaît dans les églises paléochrétiennes », précisent les spécialistes.  [...] Il a pour l'instant été impossible de localiser la ville et l'édifice qui ont abrité ces joyaux architecturaux ornés de grappes de raisins et d'une jarre surmontée d'une croix chrétienne. Les investigations s'annoncent difficiles sinon impossible en raison des combats permanents sur le territoire syrien.
A French official is quoted as saying that there is evidence that ISIL is currently speeding up its sales of stolen cultural property to collectors as its other sources of  finance dry up. And just to calm Peter Tompa's (somewhat exaggerated, one feels) worries:
Soustraits aux réseaux mafieux, les bas-reliefs seront conservés en lieu sûr et seront restitués à leur pays d'origine quand les armes se seront tues.
What is worth thinking about is hhow and when these items ended up in Lebanon, and to whom they were being sent (collector or dealer?) in Thailand. The article does not say.
 
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