Thursday, April 2, 2015

Please return the Icklingham bronzes to the United Kingdom

The New York Times piece on the "repatriation" of antiquities raises issues beyond Syria and Iraq (Tom Mashberg and Graham Bowley, "Islamic State Destruction Renews Debate Over Repatriation of Antiquities", March 30, 2015). James Cuno, the advocate of retentionism, is concerned that antiquities are taken out of potential war zones and are placed somewhere safe. He is quoted:
“Calamity can happen anywhere, but it is unlikely to happen everywhere at the same time,” Mr. Cuno said in an interview. “I say ‘distribute the risk,’ not ‘concentrate it.’ ”
I presume that Cuno would be happy for looted antiquities to be returned to museums in "safe" countries.

Can I suggest readers of LM turn to page 21-22 of Who Owns Antiquity? to read about a Roman bronze that was welcomed into a Harvard exhibition while Cuno was director? The bronze was removed from a Roman town in Suffolk. And I have discussed it in my review of Cuno's volume for the American Journal of Archaeology.

Would Cuno like to ask the present proprietor of this bronze (and the other pieces found at Icklingham) to return them to the United Kingdom as soon as possible so that they can be placed on public view?

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