Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is the Kaloterna collection fictional?

Egyptian mummy mask
reported to have formed part of
"the Kaloterna collection"
Just over a month ago I raised some questions about the Kaloterna collection. Nobody has pointed me in the direction of other objects from this collection. Could this collection be fictional?

What is the authenticated evidence that Zuzi Jelinek acquired this mask from the Kaloterna collection? Did this take place in the early 1960s? Where was Jelinek living when the acquisition was made? Does Jelinek have any (up to now overlooked) record among her papers?

If the Kaloterna collection did not exist, where does it leave the due diligence research by curatorial staff at the St Louis Art Museum? Would it mean that the mask was acquired "improperly" (to borrow a word from SLAM's Director)?

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Visual Heritage Project

Apsara Iyer has been researching the formation and persistence of antiquities trafficking markets in Peru and India. Iyer has now launched the Visual Heritage Project.
The site aims to crowd sources images for archaeological sites from Instagram or Flickr and pairs these photos with older archival images. The goal is to create a visual record of archaeological sites that allows viewers to see how a location has changed over time and can be consulted in cases of looting, automatically updating to incorporate up-to-date photography via public social media posts. Right now, the crucial step is raising awareness about the site to gather more photographs and documentation. 
Readers of LM should consider contributing to the project.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Danbury Metal Detecting Club

I note that the forthcoming sitcom, 'The Detectorists', will include the fictional Danbury Metal Detecting Club.

Is the name a coincidence?

Danbury Place in Essex was the home of Sofia Disney ffytche, the wife of Dr John Disney of The Hyde.

And archaeologists reading this will know the significance of Disney.

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The Detectorists of Suffolk

Cemetery site in Suffolk © David Gill
Will Gompertz has a commentary on the forthcoming BBC sitcom 'The Detectorists', ' about a couple of middle-aged men with a passion for metal detecting'. The latest number of Saxon (the Newsletter of the Sutton Hoo Society) [59, July 2014] has a feature on the programme noting it is about 'two metal detectorists who dream of finding a priceless Saxon hoard'.

Are we conjuring up images of Sutton Hoo, Rendlesham, or perhaps even the Staffordshire Hoard?

The series has been filmed in Suffolk, Norfolk and Suffolk and will apparently feature Orford and Framlingham.

I could think of a couple of walk-in parts for the series including the North American collector who acquires Roman bronzes dug up from a Suffolk farm.

But perhaps I am moving away from fiction.

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ADCAEA: Collector of Egyptian Antiquities

I have been reflecting on the Association of Dealers & Collectors of Ancient & Ethnographic Art (ADCAEA). One of the three board members is Joop Bollen. Bollen is a collector of Egyptian antiquities (see "Joop Bollen, directeur South Dakota International Business Institute", volkskrant.nl 2 February 2002 [translation here]).

In 2011 Bollen donated an Egyptian mummy mask to the Michael C. Carlos Museum (inv. 2011.017.001). No further information about the prior collecting history is provided on the museum's website. There is a short piece about the gift on the Emory University website ("Art Collector Donates Rare Works to Carlos Museum", Emory Magazine Winter 2013).

These are not the only gifts to the museum:
Collector and friend Joop Bollen has donated several important Egyptian works of art to the Michael C. Carlos Museum, including a Middle Kingdom wooden sarcophagus and a large Nineteenth Dynasty limestone relief slab called a stela.
What are the full documented and authenticated collecting histories of these three pieces?

There seems to be an association with the Egyptology curator at the Museum:
Bollen, a business leader based in South Dakota, is a longtime collector whose interest in antiquities led him to a close association with Peter Lacovara, senior curator of Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Carlos Museum.
If ADCAEA is promoting more transparency ('open communication') in the antiquities market, we would expect to see disclosure when collectors donate to museums.

And whatever happened to Culturegrrl's request to the Museum? (Or, for that matter, mine?)


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Theft from the Italian Chapel in Orkney



BBC Journalist Dave Grey is reporting this evening that there have been thefts from the Italian Chapel in Orkney. This building was created by Italian POWs during the Second World War.

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A coin hoard from the Levant?

I notice that Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. is selling a coin hoard ('Eastern Hacksilber') [CNG 97, lot 1 ]. It consists of 'Hoard of 32 Cut Silver Coins, Hacksilber, and Jewelry', and dates to the late 5th century BC. The hoard contains three fragmentary coins of Sidon.

The information about the lot informs us:
'Uncertain find spot, but the composition of the hoard is consistent with others found in the Levant'.
What is the previous documented collecting history of this hoard? Who was the previous proprietor?

Where in the 'Levant' was this hoard found? When was it found?

Can we be certain that all the pieces of the 'hoard' were found together? Are there other parts of the hoard that are not being offered here? Have parts been retained?

This hoard illustrates some of the intellectual consequences of dealing with numismatic material that has no documented find-spot.

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Greece and the Michael C. Carlos Museum



The Michael C. Carlos Museum seems to be trying to stall on the issues surrounding the acquisition of three Greek objects in 2002 and 2004. This is a case that was highlighted in 2007.

Will the museum release the full authenticated collecting histories of the three objects?

Why does the Minoan larnax apparently appear in the dossier of photographs and documentation seized in Switzerland?

And the same is true for the pithos with impress decoration.

The 2008 press statement is well worth re-reading for outlining the museum's policy towards acquisitions.

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ADCAEA: Code of Conduct Updated

At the end of last week I commented on the ADCAEA Code of Conduct.

And it has clearly been changed to include 'archaeological sites':
  • All members undertake not to purchase, sell or exhibit an object until they have exercised, to the best of their ability, due diligence to ensure such object was not knowingly stolen from archaeological sites, excavations, architectural or religious monuments, public institutions or private property.
ADCAEA must be praised for their swift revision.

But it does leave a question over the advice they received over the wording of their Code of Conduct.


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Monday, August 11, 2014

ADCAEA: who is one of the officers?

I have discussed the Association of Dealers & Collectors of Ancient & Ethnographic Art (ADCAEA) elsewhere. This association has as one of its aims:
  • To educate and inform members on policies and laws that affects the international movement of cultural property
I note that the Treasurer for this association is Joseph Lewis II.

Is this Joseph Lewis II the same one who loaned Egyptian material to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts? And the same one who loaned Egyptian material to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts (as spotted by Lee Rosenbaum)? And the same Joseph Lewis II who donated material to the Michael C. Carlos Museum (an institution which has been less than forthcoming about the acquisitions)?

Is this the same individual who was linked to the Egyptian coffin that was intercepted in Miami where it was described as 'agricultural products' after being shipped by a Barcelona galerista? (For corrected name.)

And is this the same collector who was named in the Khouli case? (See also Rick St Hilaire with update.)

If the Treasurer of ADCAEA is indeed the collector of Egyptian antiquities, please could ADCAEA release full details (including authenticated collecting histories) of all the donations and loans made by this individual?

After all, ADCAEA has as another of its aims:
  • To promote awareness and understanding of ancient and ethnographic art collecting through open communication with members and the public.

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