Monday, 31 December 2012

Looking back over 2012

Source: MiBAC
January 2012 started with some extraordinary events: the numismatic raid in New York city (the dealer later submitted a guilty plea), the announcement that Princeton University Art Museum would return antiquities to Italy, and the return of  pottery fragments once owned by Dietrich von Bothmer, as well as a bronze from a New York dealer. The Princeton returns appear to have made Maxwell Anderson scrutinise earlier acquisitions by Dallas, and several items were returned later in the year. Other museums linked to the same dealer have also come to light. Other material that were auctioned in New York were also returned to Italy. In spite of this former Medici material continued to appear in New York. The Toledo Museum of Art joined other major North American museums in sending material back to Italy. The Getty returned material once handled by Robin Symes.

At the same time the Cleveland Museum of Art is attempting to undermine the AAMD guidelines over recent acquisitions of antiquities.

Turkey has started to suggest that various museums return antiquities. These include New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. A dealer in North America has submitted a guilty plea in a case relating to Egyptian antiquities. A mosaic has been returned from Dallas.

In July a seizure of Indian antiquities in New York opened up a global search for objects linked with a specific dealer. This has had implications for museums in Australia. There have also been revelations about Cambodian antiquities.

The appearance of a dodgy papyrus from Egypt alos caused great concern.

There have been thefts from major archaeological collections, such as Olympia in Greece. Arrests were made later in the year.

In Britain the Portable Antiquities Scheme were involved in an unfortunate programme about "Secret Treasures". Yet there continues to be an issue with Heritage Crime in England.

Robert Hecht, a figure associated with recently surfaced antiquities, died during the year.

What will 2013 hold?

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