Cultural Heritage News

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  • 28 May 2015 1:48 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    175 'tomb raiders' caught pillaging Stone Age archaeological site in China


    PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 10:15am

    UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 3:55pm

    Associated Press in Beijing

    The looters are suspected of illegally excavating in Niuheliang, a site in northeastern Liaoning province that includes ancient tombs

  • 28 May 2015 8:31 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts vase, other looted artifacts returned to Italy

    Once a star at Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the 2,500-year-old vase was part of a treasure trove returned on Tuesday. 

    A long-running saga involving grave robbers, a Greek vase and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts came to an end Tuesday in Rome when U.S. officials returned the vase and 24 other artifacts to Italy, from where they had been stolen over many decades.

    The Minneapolis museum voluntarily turned in the vase after its origins were challenged in 2005 by Italian investigators who said it had been illegally dug from an ancient grave. Other objects returned include 1st-century frescoes and precious books that ended up in U.S. collections.

  • 28 May 2015 8:27 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    India Looks To Create 'Open Market' For Antiquities; Critics Say It Will Encourage Looting

    By Kathleen Caulderwood @kcaulderwood

    Policymakers in India want to create an “open market” for the antiquities trade, in an attempt to deter smugglers from exporting ancient items out of the country illegally. But archaeologists and art experts say legalizing the trade might not be the best solution, and could make the problem worse.

    Culture Minister Mahesh Shrama has proposed revising India’s Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, which forbids anyone except the government to export antiquities. Right now, any artifact older than 100 years old qualifies as “cultural patrimony” in India.

    “Let India have an open market,” he said, according to a report in India’s Economic Times. “Once we allow the trade of those antiquities in India, this smuggling will stop.”

  • 28 May 2015 8:18 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Yale Institute Director on Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict  


    By Diane Orson May 26, 2015

    Since the ISIS takeover of Palmyra in Syria, hundreds are feared killed by the so-called Islamic State. Amateur videos posted online yesterday also appear to show buildings of the ancient city damaged in the fighting.  Palmyra is considered to be one of the most important cultural centers in the world.

    WNPR's Diane Orson spoke recently with Stefan Simon, director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University.  He works closely with UNESCO to focus attention on what's happening to cultural heritage sites in the Middle East, Africa and around the world.

    Simon had been -- until a few days before the conversation -- in close contact with his colleagues in Syria.  Orson asked him to explain a bit more about Palmyra, a World Heritage Site.

  • 26 May 2015 2:10 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    US authorities return Pompeii frescoes stolen in 1957

    Three frescoes hacked from the ancient Roman ruins of Pompeii almost 60 years ago were on Tuesday returned by the United States to Italy, along with 22 other pieces of stolen art smuggled across the Atlantic.

    "It is my pleasure to be here today celebrating the return of these priceless objects to their rightful owners - the Italian people," US Ambassador to Italy John Phillips said in a ceremony at the headquarters of the Carabinieri police national heritage squad

  • 26 May 2015 9:12 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Experts disagree over antiquity repatriations

    23 May, 2015 Bennett Murray and Vandy Muong

    Last week Cambodia welcomed home a 10th-century statue of the Hindu god Hanuman. The statue, which had been looted from the Koh Ker temple complex in Siem Reap province during the civil war, was returned following research that established beyond doubt its dubious provenance.

    Hanuman’s repatriation was the sixth of its kind to have taken place in Cambodia since 2013. But while the volume of returns may be rising, approval is far from universal. In a multimillion dollar art market where museums and private collectors spend fortunes amassing collections of antiquities, a global debate rages as to which objects ought to be sent back.

    “Everyone is trying to figure out what should be on the market and what should not be on the market,” said William Pearlstein, a New York-based lawyer who specialises in art law.

  • 26 May 2015 7:24 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Modi government plans to legalise antiquities trade to stop smuggling

  • 21 May 2015 9:37 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Customs foil bid to smuggle Buddha statues

    Customs foil bid to smuggle Buddha statues

    Arrest passen­ger with one origin­al, seven replic­as of Gandha­ra-era artefa­cts. By Obaid Abbasi Published: May 20, 2015

    ISLAMABAD: Customs officials on Tuesday held a passenger with a Gandhara-era artefact from Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA). 

    Khan Zafar Ali, a Pakistani-origin German national, was carrying eight statues of Buddha. The passenger was booked for Turkey on a private airline but was intercepted and taken into custody after the statues were found in his luggage.

    The artefacts were sent to the Department of Archaeology and Museums, which said one of the statues was an original Gandhara-era artefact, while the rest were replicas
  • 21 May 2015 9:33 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Islamic State seizes control of Palmyra

    Syrian government forces withdraw leaving archaeological site under serious threat

    by Martin Bailey  |  21 May 2015

    Islamic State (IS) militia has seized control of Palmyra, the most important archaeological site in Syria. Fears are growing that extremists may destroy the Roman remains, which they see as representing pre-Islamic religious beliefs. The IS military breakthrough came after a week of fighting. Its militia broke through Syrian government forces at Tadmur, the modern town that lies adjacent to the ruins, and is occupying at least part of the archaeological site.
  • 20 May 2015 1:41 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    How war has robbed Syria of its history 



    GWEN IFILL: The United Nations Cultural Agency recently expressed alarm over one of the Middle East’s most treasured historical sites. They reported that the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, home of 2,000-year-old ruins and a U.N. World Heritage Site, is currently under threat, as Islamic State forces move in, fighting against government troops in the area.

    At this point, the militants have been held at bay, but the destruction and looting of antiquities is one of the turmoil’s many casualties.

    NewsHour special correspondent Marcia Biggs reports tonight on the fight to save them. It’s part of our series on Culture at Risk
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