Saturday 9 February 2008

A Bronze Krater from the Republic of Macedonia

Two days ago I mentioned the issue of looting in the Republic of Macedonia. I closed with some reported words from Pasko Kuzman (in late 2006),
One of my dreams . . . is to bring back to Macedonia a bronze bowl with a beautiful relief, which was recently traced to New York.
There have been a few comments left on the original posting with a link to "Pasko Kuzman Wants to Return Krater from New York", Macedonia Daily, November 7, 2006. (The image is not the one; it comes from an excavated tomb at Derveni in northern Greece). Apparently the krater was looted from an archaeological site in the southern part of the Republic of Macedonia, sent to Switzerland, passed through the United Kingdom, and finally sold in New York.


phrygian said...


The krater on loan from the Levy / White Collection and on display in the The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was looted from an archaeological site near the village of Koreshnica in the southern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The place, located just to the north of Demir Kapija, is hardly on any map, but is visible in high resolution on Google Earth (41°26’06’’N 22°14’20’’E).

The looting took place in 1996. The pillaged site comprises of a mayor royal tomb.

David Gill said...

What is the evidence for linking this piece with the loan with the piece in the Shelby White collection?

You seem clear in your assertion - but it would be helpful to understand the basis.

phrygian said...

O.K. Here we go. Sorry about the delay. I did some research and a lot of translation. It was time consuming, but rather revealing.

The evidence is abundant and easy available, bar the language barrier. It is enough out there to convince even the staunchest sceptic. A Google search for Корешница (the Cyrilic for Koreshnica) results in some 200 entries. Many of these are unrelated but quite a few are up to the point.

The most recent articles are:

1. "Британски археолози ќе ја геоскенираат Корешница" (British Archeologist to geo-scan Koreshnica) Vreme online, 13.02.2008.

This article is an announcement that excavation will start on a site near the village of Koreshnica towards the end of this month and in cooperation with two British archeologists, Dominic Paulsen and Ruben Torp (names transliterated from Cyrillic). The work is to begin with geo-scanning the area using equipment provided by Great Britain.

2. "Архајска некропола во демиркаписка Корешница?" (Archaic tomb at Koreshnica?) Vreme online, 13.02.2008.

This article gives further details about the said excavation and defines the site as adjacent to the tomb looted some ten years ago. It further describes the pillage and laments the loss. The archeologists in charge are Viktor Lilcik and Marjan Jovanov.

Partial translation of this article is accessible here. Scroll down to read the text:

There are great chances of locating large ruling necropolis from late archaic period (6-5 Century BC) at archaeological excavation site near Koreshnica village in Demir Kapija, says archaeologist Viktor Lilchic, announcing the excavations at terrain, which are to begin in second half of February, reads "Vreme" daily.
- Recent discoveries at excavation site promise that findings can surpass all former archaeological discoveries in the country, whereas it could actually mean discovery of the 21st Century. Near vicinity of tomb discovered previous year, I expect to find complete necropolis, says Lilchic supervisor of excavations. Excavation site, which according to archaeologists, is neglected of unjustified reasons, was discovered at the first place by wild unauthorised diggers ten year previously.

3. "Државата на потег" (The State at/to draw) Spic, 15.02.2008.

This article states that both collection and analysis of the material evidence to be used with the claim have been completed and gives a short description of that material. Further on Pasko Kuzman, director of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office (CHPO) of the Republic of Macedonia informs that they’ve traced the stolen bronze krater (of Trebeniste type) to a private gallery (collection) in New York. He then reaffirms his commitment to work hard on its restitution.

4. "Археолошкиот катастар ќе чека подобри времиња" (Archeological cadastre to wait better times) Vecer, 15.02.2008.

This article’s main subject is the creation of a countrywide Archeological Sites Registry. The necessity and urgency of the project is emphasized by the great loss accrued with a looting of such a site near Koreshnica. The famous krater was thus unearthed, smuggled out of the country and illegally sold to a collector in the USA.

The image is the Trebeniste krater, excavated near Trebeniste in south-western Macedonia and now in the National Museum in Belgrade, Serbia.

Pasko Kuzman said...

Dear phrygian,

I would very much appreciate if you could contact me on my private e-mail, provided to the moderator.
I would also like to thank Dr. Gill, for keeping the subject on Koreshnica krater alive.
Pasko Kuzman,
director of Cultural Heritage Office, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia

Unknown said...

We all wait impatiently to see what will this year bring! Especialy after the article of Dnevnik:
Which brings the news from the Michel van Rijn, ex grave-digger and smugler who is now colaborating with Scotland Yard. In his interview he declares that the people responsible for the looting the great krater from Korescnica are found and they are now in talks for their treatment in change for the informations and testimony.

Unknown said...

We are all eager to see what this year will bring! Especialy after the article that appeared in Dnevnik:
in which the famous grave-digger and smugler Michel van Rijn declares in his interview that he's colaborating with Scotland Yard on the repatriation of the Great Royal Krater from Koreschnica, and that they succed in finding the people responsible for this crime which are in negotiations about the therms of their colaboration.
I would like to hear some coment on this.

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