@Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues
I’m a bit confused by this one from Hurriyet:
A 12,000-year-old tomb made of rock in the southern province of Mersin’s Silifke district has been blown up with dynamite by treasure hunters.
The assistant head of Olba archaeological excavations, Murat Özyıldırm said during a visit to the ancient city with his students on March 5, 2011, that he had found a dynamite mechanism in the tomb and saved the tomb by informing the gendarmerie. But treasure hunters finally succeeded in blowing up the tomb this time, after three years, on April 26. In the explosion, a large part of the tomb received great damage.
Gazi University Archaeology Department member and head of the Olba excavations, Professor Emel Erten said the Uzuncaburç gendarmerie station, which had been closed, should be reopened. She said they had been fighting against treasure hunters and have tried to make their voice heard with scientific publications, conferences and through the media.
“For years we have been telling officials, including the Gendarmerie General Command, that the closure of the Uzuncaburç gendarmerie station has helped treasure hunters in Olba. The ancient city has had a watch guard for the last eight months. But this last event proves that it is not enough. Our fears came true and one of the most precious pieces in the ancient city of Olba was damaged greatly,” she said.
Özyıldırım said the closure of the gendarmerie station was an unforgivable mistake. “The Kırobası gendarmerie station, which is half an hour away from Olba, is not able to protect the ancient city,” he said.
… as far as I’m aware, this is all Seleucid territory and I had always thought these (famous) rock cut tombs in the area were either Hellenistic or Roman. Is that 12 000 years b.p. date correct?
Brief item from Greek Reporter:
A statue, believed to be the ancient Greek goddess Demeter, has been unearthed at an illegal excavation in Simav, western Turkey. The statue, weighing in at 610kg and standing 2.8 meters tall, was discovered by two Turks, Ramazan C. And Ismail G, 26 and 62 years old respectively, who are alleged to have been conducting illegal excavations in the wider area where the statue was found. The two men were taken into custody by the Turkish police and sent to court.
The head of the statue and the altar, missing during the raid, were later found in a house in the city centre.
In Greek mythology, Demeter, one of Zeus’ sisters, so the story goes, was the goddess of agriculture, nature, abundance and seasons, and mother of Persephone, wife of Hades.
The original article is accompanied by a photo of a statue; it isn’t clear whether this is the statue they found or not …
Tantalizingly brief item from the Kyiv Post:
The director of the Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky, is concerned about the fate of the Scythian gold exhibition, which got lost on the way from Europe to its home – the Museum of Kerch in Crimea.
That’s all it says … not sure if there’s more behind a pay wall, but an identical piece is up at the Israel Foreign Affairs site. Remember Schliemann’s gold? Hmmmmmmm …
Seven men were sentenced by a Greek court on Wednesday in connection with a high-profile museum robbery in Olympia last year, a judicial source said.
In February 2012, armed thieves broke into a museum dedicated to the ancient Olympic Games and made off with nearly 80 archaeological artefacts.
In November last year, police arrested three suspects trying to sell a Bronze Age gold ring in a hotel in the western city of Patras and subsequently cracked the case, recovering the stolen items.
A 41-year-old man believed to be the brains behind the operation, a 50-year-old former contractor who arranged the sale and a 37-year-old man were all handed seven-year sentences, according to the judicial source.
Two other Greeks were sentenced to six years while two Bulgarians were handed lighter sentences.
Greeces rich archaeological heritage has long been targeted by smugglers.
The Olympia robbery embarrassed the government, raising concerns that layoffs among archaeologists and staff, due to the financial crisis, had left museums vulnerable to theft.
It came just a month after thieves broke into the Athens National Gallery and stole a painting personally gifted to Greece by Spanish-born master Pablo Picasso, in addition to two other artworks.
- via: Seven sentenced over Olympia robbery in Greece (eKathimerini)
- Theft at Olympia
- Olympia Theft Followup
- Olympia Theft Update II ~ What Was Taken
- An Arrest in the Olympia Theft
- Olympia Theft Followup III
Haven’t heard much about this in the week since it happened … from Tunisia Live:
Tunisian authorities are on the hunt for a historic statue stolen from the Carthage Paleo-Christian Museum on Friday, November 8.
“Police are conducting an investigation and they arrested members of the museum’s security personnel,” Adnane Louhichi, general director of the National Heritage Institute, told Tunisia Live.
“All scenarios are considered, including the complicity of the museum’s security staff,” Louhichi said.
The statue, which dates back to the fifth century, depicts Ganymede in the company of an eagle. It is 49 centimeters long and made of white marble.
In Greek mythology, Ganymede is a ‘divine hero’ from the city of Troy.
According to Louhichi, this piece “cannot be sold, because it is famous in the entire world.”
Border police, Tunisian airports, and Interpol have all been alerted to avoid any possible smuggling of the Ganymede statue.
- via Historic Statue Stolen from Museum in Carthage (Tunisia Live)
From the Gazzetta del Sud:
Police have foiled ‘tomb raiders’ looting an ancient Roman archaeological site near the capital that was previously unknown to the Italian authorities, investigators said on Wednesday. The site is located near the ruins of a temple devoted to Juno ”The Saviour” at Lanuvio, in the Castelli Romani (Castles of Rome) – a cluster of towns southeast of Rome. Investigators saved five marble elements from works of architecture, coins, the ruins of a number of buildings, and over 24,000 terracotta fragments attributable to the late Republican and imperial period. Investigators also found tools presumably being used for archeological theft, including metal detectors, two-way radios. The authorities commandeered 17,000 sq meters of farmland where the ruins of monumental walls were brought to light by the illegal excavation. Lazio regional authorities said the site and artifacts recovered were of great scientific interest due to the size of the discovery, the state of its preservation and the location, near an important Roman temple. Investigators noted that in recent months, 500 cultural works have been seized and five people charged in unrelated operations to protect Italy’s heritage.
- via: Ancient site found near Rome, ‘tomb raiders’ foiled (Gazzetta del Sud)
The coverage in La Reppubblica downplays the theft side of things and seems to emphasize that this is a major new site … it also include a video of some of the items there: Lanuvio, scoperto sito archeologico La Finanza sventa il saccheggio
Among the antiquities found in the man’s possession were 616 ancient artefacts dating from the Neolithic period and over 1,200 ancient coins, mainly from the Hellenistic period, and two Roman-era medals
A 53-year-old man has been arrested after police found rare objects dating from the Neolithic period in his possession.
In a planned operation, police moved in to arrest the man at a carpark at the Flisvou marina, in the southern Athens suburb of Paleo Faliro.
Police seized 616 ancient artefacts dating from the Neolithic period and 840 ancient coins, mainly from the Hellenistic period.
In a subsequent search of a man’s house, in the city of Larisa in Thessaly, police found and seized 391 additional coins from various eras and two Roman-era medals.
Police are continuing their investigation.
The man will be brought before an Athens prosecutor.
Here’s a photo of one of the objects recovered:
… not sure why this item looks familiar …
Brief item from the Cyprus Mail:
TWO MEN, aged 26 and 65 were arrested late Friday in connection with a case of antiquities theft. According to a police spokesman a 26-year Syrian man had three amphorae in his possession which he was planning to sell for €900. He told police he had stolen them from a house in Limassol which belongs to the 65-year Greek-Cypriot who was also arrested on suspicion of possessing them illegally.
Police found two more amphorae at the man’s house. All five items were taken to an archaeologist who determined they dated from the early and mid Bronze Age and fell under the Antiquities Act. The 26-year-old was held for questioning while the 65-year-old was written up and released until a later date.
- via: Antiquities theft (Cyprus Mail)
From Today’s Zaman:
A winged seahorse brooch, one of the most precious pieces in the Croesus Treasure, which was stolen from a museum in Turkey in 2005 and recently found in Germany, was returned to Turkey on Wednesday.
In November of last year, then-Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay announced that the famed brooch had been located in Germany and would be returned to Turkey soon. No information was revealed as to how it was found.
The brooch, which is worth millions of Turkish lira, was found to have been stolen from the Uşak Archaeology Museum, where it had been on display, and switched with a fake sometime between March and August of 2005, and it remained missing until being located in Germany.
The Croesus Treasure, a collection of artifacts from the time of King Croesus’s rule of the Lydian Kingdom between 560 and 547 B.C., is on display in the Uşak Archeology Museum. The treasure contains 363 valuable Lydian artifacts originating from Uşak province in western Turkey, which were the subject of a legal battle between Turkey and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from 1987-1993. The artifacts were returned to Turkey in 1993 after the museum admitted it had known the objects were stolen when they had purchased them.
- via: Germany returns famed winged seahorse brooch to Turkey (Today’s Zaman)
In case you missed it a few years ago, the Croesus Theft was an Inside Job…