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The Art News blog on Antiquities, Archaeology, Art Collecting, Art Education, Events, Exhibitions, Museums, and More…

Gilded Egyptian Coffin Acquired by Metropolitan Museum

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Gilded Egyptian Coffin Acquired by Metropolitan Museum

Gilded Egyptian Coffin Acquired by Metropolitan Museum

October 2, 2017.   GOLD COFFIN OF NEDJEMANKH NOW GRACES LILA ACHESON WALLACE GALLERIES An ancient Egyptian object has received a celebrated place in a great US museum. Despite a history of demands from the source country for repatriation of virtually all artifacts, the acquisition is a rare occasion in which no claim has come from Egypt. On September 12, 2017, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it had acquired an intricately decorated gilded mummiform coffin from the Late Ptolemaic Period – around the first century B.C. The lid of the cartonnage coffin is now displayed prominently in the Museum’s renowned Lila Acheson Wallace Galleries for Egyptian Art (gallery 138). The coffin’s provenance is well documented: “The coffin was…

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Iraq, Syria, Libya & Egypt: Beyond Rescuing the Iraqi Jewish Archives

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Iraq, Syria, Libya & Egypt: Beyond Rescuing the Iraqi Jewish Archives

Iraq, Syria, Libya & Egypt: Beyond Rescuing the Iraqi Jewish Archives

October 2, 2017. REFORMING US POLICY ON CULTURAL RETURNS – THE IRAQI JEWISH ARCHIVES – THE TALE OF A COMMUNITY’S LOST HISTORY The story of the Iraqi Jewish Archives began long before US troops helped rescue historical artifacts of the Jewish community from the flooded basement of Iraq’s secret police headquarters in 2003. It started in the early 1980s, when men from the Iraqi government, carrying weapons, arrived in the middle of the night at the last functioning synagogue in Baghdad, and seized the community records stored there for safe-keeping. The upstairs, women’s section of the temple had become a repository for family as well as community records because of frequent attacks on Iraqi Jewish homes and businesses. The records…

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5-Year Renewal Sought for MOU that Benefits Cambodia’s Corrupt, Anti-Democratic Government

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on 5-Year Renewal Sought for MOU that Benefits Cambodia’s Corrupt, Anti-Democratic Government

5-Year Renewal Sought for MOU that Benefits Cambodia’s Corrupt, Anti-Democratic Government

September 30, 2017.  CAMBODIA’S HUN SEN SEEKS A CULTURAL PROPERTY AGREEMENT FROM U.S. WHILE CRUSHING FREE PRESS, ARRESTING POLITICAL OPPONENTS, AND DUMPING U.S. TIES IN FAVOR OF CHINA Cambodia is seeking a renewal of a US Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to embargo import of all artifacts.  A Cambodian MOU has been in place, and ever-expanding in scope, since 1999. The request will be considered by the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, meeting at the Department of State on October 23-24. All comments from the public must be submitted in writing by October 15, 2017. Use http://www.regulations.gov, enter the docket [DOS-2017-0036] and follow the prompts to submit comments. The first Cambodian ban took effect on December 2, 1999, when the U.S. imposed…

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Zero, what a Concept! Radiocarbon Dating Reveals It’s Older Than We Thought

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Zero, what a Concept! Radiocarbon Dating Reveals It’s Older Than We Thought

Zero, what a Concept! Radiocarbon Dating Reveals It’s Older Than We Thought

September 30, 2017.  NOTHINGNESS AND THE VOID AS BOTH NUMBER AND A MEDITATIVE STATE OF REALIZATION Contributed by Bonnie Povolny. Research commissioned by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries on an ancient Indian text known as the Bakhshali manuscript has moved the use of zero in Indian mathematics back five hundred years to between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE.  The discovery, through radiocarbon dating, is significant because it more clearly indicates the place in history of the solid dot used as the placeholder for zero in the Bakhshali manuscript and its eventual evolution to the zero we know today. Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford explained in a YouTube video on the carbon dating…

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Major Case on Chinese and Cypriot Coins Should Be Heard

Posted by on Sep 28, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Major Case on Chinese and Cypriot Coins Should Be Heard

Major Case on Chinese and Cypriot Coins Should Be Heard

September 28, 2017.  IMPORTANT ANTIQUE COIN COLLECTORS GUILD CASE IS FULLY BRIEFED: COULD IMPACT WIDER ART TRADE The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has asked the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to overturn a lower court decision that allowed significant overreach by US government agencies. The Guild filed a reply brief  in the ongoing forfeiture action concerning two lots of relatively low value Cypriot and Chinese coins that the Guild imported for purposes of its test case. The appellate case is the United States v. Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, 17-1625. The Guild summed up the position taken in the initial brief as: The Guild has argued that the district court could not assume away important elements of the government’s…

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CPAC: US Renews MOU with Mali to Halt Art Imports Including 19-20th C Books, Manuscripts

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on CPAC: US Renews MOU with Mali to Halt Art Imports Including 19-20th C Books, Manuscripts

CPAC: US Renews MOU with Mali to Halt Art Imports Including 19-20th C Books, Manuscripts

September 25, 2017.  INSTEAD OF EXPANDING US-MALI MUSEUM CO-OPERATION, STATE DEPT. BLOCKS IMPORTATION OF ART OF AFRICAN NATION FOR TOTAL OF 20 YEARS On September 19, the State Department announced a 5-year extension of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Mali. The MOU prohibits the importation of virtually all ancient art from that country – and the accompanying Mali Designated List expands the scope of earlier MOUs to include a block on imports of manuscripts dating from the 12th to the 20th century as “ethnological materials.” In renewing and expanding the MOU with Mali, for the fourth time since 2002, the Department of State has cut off US museums and cultural institutions, as well as private collectors…

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Contradictory Ideas From Egypt: Digging for Treasure, Finders Keepers, and Death Penalty

Posted by on Sep 22, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Contradictory Ideas From Egypt: Digging for Treasure, Finders Keepers, and Death Penalty

Contradictory Ideas From Egypt: Digging for Treasure, Finders Keepers, and Death Penalty

September 22, 2017.   RELIGIOUS LEADER ISSUES EDICT APPROVING RIGHT TO DIG ANTIQUITIES ON PRIVATE LAND AND PARLIAMENTARIAN INTRODUCES LAW TO PUNISH ANTIQUITIES TRAFFICKING WITH DEATH A religious leader in Egypt has issued a ruling on Islamic law, a fatwa, saying that any person who finds gold or treasure on his land has the right to keep it, so long he gives a tithe of the value to charity. Vehement objections were immediately raised to the fatwa by scholars, archaeologists, and government officials. Some noted the loss of archaeological information in amateur digging and treasure hunting; other stressed the existence of secular laws that vest ownership of all antiquities in the government of Egypt and which prohibit trade and even private…

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Massive Earthquake Near Mexico City Spares Museums and Major Sites

Posted by on Sep 22, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Massive Earthquake Near Mexico City Spares Museums and Major Sites

Massive Earthquake Near Mexico City Spares Museums and Major Sites

September 22, 2017.  Updated September 29, 2017.  CULTURAL AUTHORITIES SAY ONLY MINIMAL DAMAGE TO MUSEUMS AND HERITAGE SITES On September 19, 2017, just a few hours after an earthquake drill commemorating the 1985 quake that decimated Mexico City, the region was again struck by a devastating, 7.1 magnitude, quake.  Buildings crumbled in a wide radius around the epicenter in Puebla State, 75 miles from Mexico City. Almost 300 people have been reported dead, and more deaths are expected to be reported as search operations continue. Immediately, the country’s solidarity in the face of adversity was clear as people began checking on their friends, neighbors and coworkers, dropping all other work to assist others. The art, cultural heritage and museum communities…

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‘No EU problem with terrorist antiquities, so let’s legislate for it’ says Commission

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on ‘No EU problem with terrorist antiquities, so let’s legislate for it’ says Commission

‘No EU problem with terrorist antiquities, so let’s legislate for it’ says Commission

by Ivan Macquisten  CCP thanks Ivan Macquisten for generously allowing us to reprint this important blog post from his website. Sep 21, 2017.  Despite the European Commission’s own report acknowledging that no evidence exists to show terrorist-related smuggling of cultural property within the European Union, it is pressing ahead with stringent new rules to tackle the issue COMMENT: Following on from my last blog, the European Commission’s 199-page Deloitte report into tackling cultural property trafficking now confirms that there is no evidence at all that terrorism-related material is entering the EU. It is even helpful enough to publish a bar chart showing this, which I reproduce above. So where does that leave us? To recap, the EC set about investigating this issue at the…

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Syrian Museum Wants Art Looted By Syrian Soldiers Back

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Syrian Museum Wants Art Looted By Syrian Soldiers Back

Syrian Museum Wants Art Looted By Syrian Soldiers Back

September 20, 2017.  BRUTAL GOVERNMENTS AND MILITIAS BOMB AND LOOT MUSEUM. WITH NO ONE RESPONSIBLE, RETENTIVE CULTURAL POLICY IS HELPLESS TO PRESERVE HERITAGE. An article posted September 13, 2017 on the website of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces reported that the Directorate of Museums in the Free Idlib Provincial Council plans “to file lawsuits in international courts to recover the looted relics that Assad’s militias stole and smuggled out of Syria.” Idlib Museum director, Anas Zeidan stated, “the Assad regime militias loot antiquities from the historical sites in the areas under their control to sell them on the black markets.” Plans are in the works to compile a list of missing artifacts for the lawsuit as…

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Hurricanes Irma and Marie Hit Caribbean Museums and Historic Sites

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Hurricanes Irma and Marie Hit Caribbean Museums and Historic Sites

Hurricanes Irma and Marie Hit Caribbean Museums and Historic Sites

September 19, 2017.  UNPRECEDENTED STORM DAMAGE, FLOODS, AND NO ELECTRICITY PLACE HISTORIC AND CONTEMPORARY COLLECTIONS AT RISK One hurricane after another ravaged the Caribbean in September. First Hurricane Irma, then Jose, then Maria struck the Caribbean islands. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two of the strongest hurricanes to hit the Caribbean in recorded history, each reached an astounding category-5 status along their path, earning the dubious distinctions of causing the greatest damage wrought on the Caribbean islands within two weeks of one another. Amidst the devastation from loss of life and destruction of personal property there are also significant concerns for the damage the hurricanes have done to the museums and cultural infrastructure and the historical heritage of the Caribbean –…

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Viking Warrior Women – Myth or Fantasy?

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Viking Warrior Women – Myth or Fantasy?

Viking Warrior Women – Myth or Fantasy?

September 15, 2017. ANCIENT VIKING GRAVE ON SWEDISH ISLAND OF BIRKA TURNS OUT TO BELONG TO WOMAN WARRIOR According to recent DNA skeletal research, Viking warrior women really did exist. For centuries legends have told of fierce Nordic women like the Valkyries immortalized in Die Walküre, the second opera of Wagner’s famous Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen). Shieldmaidens, the subject of Norse saga, were thought to have fought valiantly alongside men. Now, with the help of  DNA evidence, new light has been shed on the question of whether such fierce female Vikings really did exist. Certainly , there is literary evidence dating back to around the 12th century for female warriors. In a Greenlandic poem quoted from the study…

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Nancy Hatch Dupree (1927-2017): Preservation Pioneer in a War Zone

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Nancy Hatch Dupree (1927-2017): Preservation Pioneer in a War Zone

Nancy Hatch Dupree (1927-2017): Preservation Pioneer in a War Zone

September 14, 2017.  WRITER, RESEARCHER AND FIERCE ADVOCATE FOR AFGHANISTAN CULTURE DIES IN KABUL American writer and historian of Afghanistan Nancy Hatch Dupree died in Kabul on September 10, 2017, after complications from an injured leg and failing heart and lungs. She was nearly ninety years old. Nancy and her archaeologist-husband, Louis Dupree were witnesses to the transformation of Afghanistan from the post-war modernization of the central government to the “all in the family” coup d’etat in 1973 that made his cousin, Mohammad Daoud the first President of Afghanistan to the Soviet backed puppets, Nur Mohammad Taraki (1978) and Hafizullah Amin (1978 – 1979). The Duprees left their home is Kabul only after Louis was arrested in 1978 after being…

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Update: Stonehenge Tunnel Gets Official Green Light

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Update: Stonehenge Tunnel Gets Official Green Light

Update: Stonehenge Tunnel Gets Official Green Light

September 12, 2017.  ADJUSTMENT TO ROAD’S PATH WILL ALLOW UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW OF SOLSTICE ALIGNMENT BUT MANY INSIST HERITAGE SITE IS AT RISK After a 50-meter realignment and budget increase of £200 million, UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has given final approval to a 1.8 mile long tunnel that will run under the ancient site of Stonehenge, replacing the current highway that just skirts the prehistoric site. Many archaeologists felt the massive construction would have far reaching effects on the surrounding area and strongly opposed the project. Concerns that one of the entrances to the proposed tunnel would interfere with the view of the setting sun on the winter solstice at the World Heritage site had also become a rallying cry…

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“Ketchup City” – Rome’s Neapolis Found Beneath the Waves

Posted by on Sep 8, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on “Ketchup City” – Rome’s Neapolis Found Beneath the Waves

“Ketchup City” – Rome’s Neapolis Found Beneath the Waves

September 8, 2017. In a Month of Severe Water Events – An Ancient City Emerges – And an Ancient Recipe for Garum After seven years of rough conditions, calmer waters have finally allowed archeological dive teams to locate underwater remains of a long-lost Roman city off the coast of current-day Tunisia, which was submergedby a tsunami over 1,600 years ago. Mounir Fanter, the head of the Tunisian-Italian archaeological mission that made the find, told AFP News Agency, that the discovery of streets, monuments, mosaics, and nearly 100 tanks used to store garum, a fermented fish sauce sometimes called “Rome’s ketchup”, have allowed archaeologists to say that “Neapolis was a major center for the manufacture of garum and salt fish, probably…

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Collectors Claim Title to Ancient Bull’s Head Sculpture

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Collectors Claim Title to Ancient Bull’s Head Sculpture

Collectors Claim Title to Ancient Bull’s Head Sculpture

August 30, 2017.  WILL NY COURTS ENFORCE A FOREIGN LAW AGAINST A GOOD FAITH US PURCHASER? More than twenty years ago, in 1996, collectors Lynda and William Beierwaltes purchased an Archaic Greek sculpture in London, a marble fragment of the head of a bull. In the years since their purchase, the same sculpture was exhibited at a major art fair in Paris and published in a dealer’s catalog. The sculpture was said to have come from another art dealer in Switzerland. In about 2010, the Beierwaltes sold the sculpture to private collector Michael H. Steinhardt through an art dealer who had also previously exhibited it for sale in Paris in 2006 and published it in a catalog. In 2016, Steinhardt…

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New EU Regulations On Art Trade – Using a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on New EU Regulations On Art Trade – Using a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut

New EU Regulations On Art Trade – Using a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut

August 29, 2017.  RULE CHANGES ARE BASED ON WHAT POLICE REPORT CALLS “UNFOUNDED ESTIMATES” OF ILLEGAL TRADE In past years, the EU has issued regulations on cultural items traveling internally within EU markets. A 1993 EU Directive ensured return and enabled compensation in appropriate circumstances. Directive 2014/60/EU provided for the physical return of cultural objects that had been unlawfully removed from EU countries’ territory. Reasonable limits were set on claims, and due diligence was required from purchasers. Now, however, EU commissioners have proposed import and export restrictions applying to global trade, and requiring either (1) documentation that is impossible to provide for the vast majority of the items and countries covered, or (2) requiring an importer to swear in an…

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Return of Benin Artworks: Talks, Conferences, and Opposing Arguments

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Return of Benin Artworks: Talks, Conferences, and Opposing Arguments

Return of Benin Artworks: Talks, Conferences, and Opposing Arguments

August 27, 2017. CONTROVERSIAL PLAN TO LOAN ARTWORKS FROM WESTERN COLLECTIONS TO FUTURE BENIN CITY MUSEUM Four years of discussions among a “Benin Dialogue Group” have resulted in a tentative commitment between the Court of Benin, Nigerian museums and several European museums with major Benin collections to eventually establish a permanent display of loaned European museum materials in Benin City, Nigeria.  The actual objects to be loaned and exhibited are expected to come from different museums on a rotating basis. Major collections from Benin that form part of the discussion are in the Ethnological Museum of Berlin, the British Museum, and the Louvre, in Paris. Neither the items to be displayed nor which museum collections will be involved had been…

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Facts About the Art Trade, Terrorism and the Size of the Illicit Market

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Facts About the Art Trade, Terrorism and the Size of the Illicit Market

Facts About the Art Trade, Terrorism and the Size of the Illicit Market

August 24, 2017.  IMPORTANT STUDY COMMISSIONED BY DUTCH NATIONAL POLICE CONTRADICTS MEDIA HOAX Phony claims about involvement of the legitimate art trade with ISIS, and about art dealers supporting terrorism continue to be fed to the media, despite reputable, solid analysis that contradicts these false allegations. The most comprehensive resource is a 78 page report commissioned by the Dutch National Police, Central Investigation Unit, War Crimes Unit: Cultural Property, War Crimes and Islamic State – Destruction, plunder and trafficking of cultural property and heritage by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – a war crimes perspective. The Dutch National Police report states: “Although it seems, based on main stream media, as if all art and antique dealers are black market dealers, the…

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Education: Coloring Books Illustrate Racial Diversity in the Ancient World

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in ArtNews | Comments Off on Education: Coloring Books Illustrate Racial Diversity in the Ancient World

Education: Coloring Books Illustrate Racial Diversity in the Ancient World

August 21, 2017.   CONTROVERSY OVER COLOR RESTORATION IN CARTOONS AND COLORING BOOKS Something as simple as a coloring book may be used as a tool to introduce people to the racial diversity that existed in the ancient world. For centuries the whiteness of marble statues has led viewers to believe that the people represented were of a single race. What was overlooked was the fact that the whiteness of the marble statues was the perfect canvas for pigments and paints. Color could create a more authentic representation of the person depicted. In fact, in the ancient world, most statutes were painted. Through modern technology experts have begun to identify the colors of the paint applied to these durable canvasses –…

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