Skip to main content

From Greece to Atlanta: overview

Minoan larnax
The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University acquired three disputed antiquities: two in 2002, and one in 2004. The first concerns were raised in the press by Greek investigative journalist Nikolas Zirganos in June 2007. In September 2008, in the wake of returns to Greece from the collection of Shelby White (including an impressive krater that had been part of a loan exhibition at the Michael C. Carlos Museum), it was announced that the Greek authorities were investigating the three objects: a statue of Terpsichore, a pithos, and a Minoan larnax. Emory University issued a press statement about the Greek request at the end of the same month.

I returned to the topic in August 2010 when it became clear that the Minoan larnax and the Greek pithos could be traced directly to Palladion Antike Kunst due to the raids on Basel in 2005.

In August 2011 it emerged that the Carlos Museum had acquired Egyptian antiquities from the Joseph Lewis collection. Enquiries were met with the same lack of co-operation.

Is it time that the museum, once known for its strong ethical acquisitions policy, should resolve the situation with Greece? Maxwell Anderson gave a strong lead for Dallas and, given his links with the Carlos, could provide an appropriate model for them to adopt.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

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.