Saturday, 12 December 2009

Italy and US co-operate over antiquities

There is further evidence of the close working relationship between Italy and US authorities. It has been reported that 1700 antiquities have been seized ("Italian police recover hoard of looted artifacts", AP, December 11, 2009). At least 19 people appear to be under investigation.

The objects seem to have been derived from tombs around Naples and in north-eastern Italy. Among the finds was a bronze bust of Augustus.

It appears that some of the material had already been sent to North America. Who were the dealers involved?

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are reported to have recovered "47 ceramic and bronze statutes that had been looted from a tomb in southern Italy dating between the 6th and 5th centuries B.C."

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1 comment:

Cultural Property Observer said...

David- Doesn't this actually suggest US and Italian police forces have the ability to crack down on looting without recourse to import restrictions that require the importer to establish an artifact was outside of Italy as of 2001 for Classical Antiquities under the MOU with Italy? And doesn't the existence of a licit market within Italy that has no internal "provenance requirement" also suggest that import restrictions do little more than penalize importers who want to do things "by the book?"

Peter Tompa

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