Saturday, 3 September 2011

Egyptian Antiquities Under Threat

Earlier this summer I completed a chapter on "Egyptian Antiquities on the Market". I reviewed a number of  recent cases showing the issues relating to recent looting of archaeological sites, the removal of material from museums, and the theft of known objects from archaeological sites. I have included a note on the value of Egyptian antiquities surfacing on the New York market.

Irrespective of the concerns about museum and site security following the political events in Egypt earlier this year, there is clearly an issue to address: how can the market for recently surfaced Egyptian antiquities be dampened down?

It appears that in June this year ICOM was asked to produce a "Red List" of "Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk". Such a list is defined as follows:
The Red Lists classify the endangered categories of archaeological objects or works of art in the most vulnerable areas of the world, in order to prevent them being sold or illegally exported.
Some will no doubt oppose or criticise the creation of such a List as it will place a great onus on those who trade in this specific group of cultural objects. But if an international body like ICOM recognises that there is a potential problem, then it would follow that auction houses, galleries and dealers should adopt a more rigorous due diligence procedure over the material that they handle.

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Cultural Property Observer said...

David- Far from preparing it on their own, the US State Department is paying ICOM to prepare this list, and then will presumably use it to create the designated list for import restrictions for its "done deal" on an MOU with Egypt. Why can't Egypt itself create such a list, if one is truly necessary? Don't you belive the Egyptians are competent to do so?

David Gill said...

I believe that ICOM is the best place body to create such a list.
I suggest that you insert "alleged" before "done deal".
Best wishes

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