Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Trading antiquities from Syria

BBC Radio 4's journalists have been investigating the movement of archaeological material from Syria to the antiquities markets in the west (Simon Cox, "The men who smuggle the loot that funds IS", BBC News Magazine 17 February 2015). The results will be broadcast later today on Radio 4 ("Islamic State: Looting for Terror"). The programme has talked to an individual who moves objects across the border of Syria into Lebanon. He claims some of the items have sold for $1 million. They then talk to a middleman in southern Turkey who passes material onto the western dealers. Material includes a large Byzantine coin hoard. The team talked to a dealer in Beirut who offered to arrange the shipment of mosaics to London. Museum officials in the Lebanon raise the issue of fakes being produced to flood the market.

The programme also talks to Vernon Rapley who suggests that material from London is for sale in London.

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