Saturday, 14 February 2009

The corruption is long-lasting

Cambridge colleagues and I have been discussing the likely impact of the Robin Symes - Christos Michaelides archive of photographs found on the Greek island of Schinousa in 2006. In the last two to three years we have seen the fallout from the Medici "archive" seized in the Geneva Freeport. But which pieces will be identified from this Symes-Michaelides record?

My co-researcher Christopher Chippindale observed:
the corruption through looted objects is so deep and wide and long-lasting that even people of good character who bought things decades ago may inadvertently have acquired illicit stuff.

How can such material be avoided?

Museums and private individuals need to have a rigorous due diligence process. Was the object known, i.e. documented, prior to 1970? How reliable is the information?

The acquisition of antiquities requires more than "good faith" or a reliance on "good title".

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