Skip to main content

ADCAEA: an association for dealers and collectors

Paul Barford's post on the Association of Dealers & Collectors of Ancient & Ethnographic Art (ADCAEA) has attracted my attention (adcaea.wildapricot.org). It is not clear why a new body is needed. One of the two dealers, Hixenbaugh Ancient Art, is already a member of the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA).

I would like to focus on one point in the Code of Conduct.
All members undertake not to purchase, sell or exhibit an object until they have exercised, to the best of their ability, due diligence to ensure such object was not knowingly stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
It is remarkably similar to the one from the IADAA:
The members of IADAA undertake not to purchase or sell objects until they have established to the best of their ability that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
Both the ADCAEA and the IADAA seem to condemn removal of archaeological or ethnographic material from "excavations". But what about from known or even scheduled archaeological sites that have not been excavated?

So, for example, imagine a known Roman urban site that is covered by arable fields. Would it be acceptable for members of ADCAEA (or for that matter IADAA) to handle material that had been removed from that site on the grounds that the structures had not been "excavated"? I am sure that they would say no.

So why use the word "excavations" rather than "archaeological sites" in the formulation?

I am sure that both bodies have taken legal advice to avoid careless wording. So we can only presume that in the case of ADCAEA that this is intentional.

And those who observe these things will note the presence of a paid lobbyist on the list of officers for ADCAEA. What signal does that send out about this new association?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Mithras relief from Tor Cervara

A fragmentary relief of Mithras was discovered in 1964 at Tor Cervara on the outskirts of Rome. It was acquired by the Museo Nazionale Romano.

A further fragment of the relief was acquired by the Badisches Landesmueum in Kalrsruhe in 1976. The source was an unstated Swiss dealer. This fragment has been reunited with the rest of the relief [press release].

Today a further fragment of the relief was reunited with the other pieces. This had been recovered during a raid in Sardinia.