Skip to main content

Bonhams: Italian Press Release

A short press statement has appeared ("Bonham's ritira sculture Romane, forse origine illegale", ANSA April 28, 2010) following up the article in The Guardian:

(ANSA) - 28 APR - Quattro sculture romane che avrebbero dovuto essere messe all'asta in Gran Bretagna, sono state ritirate dalla vendita poiché potrebbero essere il frutto di scavi illegali. Il Guardian riferisce che tre busti funerari e una statua di marmo risalenti a circa il II secolo d.C. potrebbero essere stati rinvenuti in scavi non autorizzati in Siria o nel nord della Grecia, e in Italia. A batterli sarebbe stata la casa d'aste di Londra Bonham's, che aveva stimato il loro valore attorno alle 40.000 sterline e che ora ha avviato un'indagine interna, parallela a quella della polizia, per scoprire la reale provenienza delle opere. Secondo l'archeologo David Gill, dell'Università di Swansea in Gran Bretagna, non ci sarebbero dubbi: le opere presentavano tracce di terreno che fanno pensare alla provenienza illecita. Gli scavi illegali, in forte aumento, rischiano di distruggere i contesti in cui le opere vengono ritrovate e danneggiare il lavoro degli archeologi. Secondo il noto archeologo di Cambridge Lord Renfrew, Londra - già nota per essere un'ottima piazza per la ricettazione dell'antiquariato - riconfermerebbe così la sua reputazione.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The scale of the returns to Italy

I have been busy working on an overview, "Returning Archaeological Objects to Italy". The scale of the returns to Italy from North American collections and galleries is staggering: in excess of 350 objects. This is clearly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the material that has surfaced on the market without a history that can be traced back to the period before 1970. 

I will provide more information in due course, but the researcher is a reminder that we need to take due diligence seriously when it comes to making acquisitions.

Stele returns to Greece

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture has announced (Saturday 8 September 2018) that a stele that had been due to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London in June 2017 has been returned to Greece (Friday 7 September 2018). The identification had been made by Cambridge-based forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis.

It appeared that the stele had been supplied with a falsified history as its presence with Becchina until 1990 contradicted the published sale catalogue entry. It then moved into the hands of George Ortiz.

A year ago it was suggested that Sotheby's should contact the Greek authorities. Those negotiations appear to have concluded successfully.

The 4th century BC stele fragment, with the personal name, Hestiaios, will be displayed in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. It appears to have come from a cemetery in Attica.



"Beating sites to death"

Policy decisions for protecting archaeological sites need to be informed by carefully argued positions based on data. Dr Sam Hardy has produced an important study, “Metal detecting for cultural objects until ‘there is nothing left’: The potential and limits of digital data, netnographic data and market data for analysis”. Arts 7, 3 (2018) [online]. This builds on Hardy's earlier research.

Readers should note Hardy's conclusion about his findings: "they corroborate the detecting community’s own perception that they are ‘beat[ing these sites] to death’".

Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis, and Suzie Thomas may wish to reflect on whether or not their own position is endangering the finite archaeological record. 

Abstract
This methodological study assesses the potential for automatically generated data, netnographic data and market data on metal-detecting to advance cultural property criminology. The method comprises the analysi…