Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review of 2013

Source: MiBAC
At the beginning of 2013 I made a number of predictions. I drew attention to Cambodian antiquities and we have seen items returned. Sotheby's has also agreed to return a piece that had been due to be auctioned.

I also thought that more material would be identified from the Medici archive. This has been the case for items surfacing on the market (e.g. Gnathian krater, the Ackerman Apollo, an East Greek warrior, the Symes torso, the Symes Pan, the Medici Pan, and other items) as well as in established collections such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (and here).

The J. Paul Getty Museum agreed to return the terracotta head of Hades. The Italian enquiry into a curator at the Princeton University Art Museum came to an end. However there has been no movement on the Villanovan bronze hut. We continue to await the return of material to Greece from the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.

Bothmer fragments reunited
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has continued to place a veil over the formation of the Bothmer collection of pot fragments. However one partial cup will be returning to Rome after Dr Christos Tsirogiannis made the link with a fragment in the Villa Giulia.

Cornell will be returning cuneiform tablets to Iraq.

And we have not forgotten about the mummy mask in the St Louis Art Museum.

Italian authorities netted Etruscan antiquities in Operation Ifegenia. A fragment from a tomb at Paestum has been intercepted in North America.

The AAMD does not seem to have resolved some issues with items appear on the Object Register.

Turkey has yet to press hard for the return of material such as the Bubon bronzes. However Michael Bennett of the Cleveland Museum of Art has decided to add his voice to the debate. There has also been some discussion of a sarcophagus spotted in Geneva.

Little further work has been done on European (including UK) museums and their acquisition of material from Robin Symes, Giacomo Medici and Gianfranco Becchina. This is perhaps a task for 2014. We did however draw attention to the situation in Copenhagen.

Church theft in Devon
In the UK Simon Thurley (and see his Men from the Ministry) took up the case of Heritage Crime. I have also added my voice for the return of the Icklingham Bronzes. This was a theme taken up during an outdoor seminar during the excavations at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk. There have been some significant instances such as the paintings from a church in Devon.

On different fronts I revisited my thinking on the Universal Museum. The Cleveland Museum of Art has published its position on the Apollo and I have responded in an academic article. A small publication on the Crosby Garrett helmet appeared (and has done little to answer concerns about how it was removed from the ground). British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his views on the Parthenon marbles. I was able to hear Paul Barford present a seminar on portable antiquities during his visit to East Anglia. I have returned to my analysis of the value of the antiquities market. I also delivered my inaugural lecture on one of the founders of modern archaeology.

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