Sunday, 22 October 2017

Poland: More Military Artefact Collectors are Killed

Since huge areas of the country were one large battlefield in 1914-20, 1939 and then 1944-5, there is a lot of buried military hardware in the fields and forests of Poland. There are a lot of collectors interested in finding it. Every year in Poland one or two metal detectorists are killed trying to dismantle unexploded ordnance instead of calling the sappers (who'll just blow up the item, making it uncollectable). Two military artefact collectors have died this weekend after putting an unexploded bomb on fire to 'warm it before disassembly' and it blew up... ('Fani militariów wrzucili niewybuch do ogniska. Zmarł drugi z poszkodowanych' 22.10.2017). The incident happened in Wola Górzańska (podkarpackie voivodship). A 44-year old man died at once, his metal detecting pal (aged 42, from Bydgoszcz) died in hospital this morning. They had found the object in the forest near the older man's home and took it back to the house and threw it in a fire 30m from the building. During a search of the dead men's homes, police found a number of artefacts coming from the Second World War, military equipment (dogtags, water canisters, helmets and bagnets), but also elements of weapons (shell cases and ammunition). Some of the latter were assessed as potentially being in a dangerous state and were taken away by sappers. Collecting such material is currently illegal in Poland.

Looting in Syria

Two interesting observations from Christopher Jones
11 godz.11 godzin temu
W odpowiedzi do
In 2014-2015, people dug a crazy amount of holes in Syrian archaeological sites. But two finds account for 80% of revenue in Abu Sayyaf docs
The recent spate of looting (or Museums and sites) in Syria in fact began in 2012 at the latest (Apamea and the mosaics appearing in Lebanon for example), but there does seem to have been an increase in 2014. If it is true that there was a downswing after 2015, it is interesting to consider why that might have been.

As for the second issue, readers will know that I am more inclined to see the 'Abu Sayyaf documents' as forgeries created by the US government as a cover for their promotion of an  'ISIL-financed-by-antiquities-looting' story for which there was little other evidence. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Blocking Out Difficulties

The dealers and their lobbyists continue to withdraw from and alienate themselves from the heritage debate. AnthroPaulicy now reports:
Katie A. Paul‏ @AnthroPaulicy
W odpowiedzi do @ChasingAphrodit @cwjones89
I “liked” these tweets so @ArtTradeSol blocked me. Haha I didn’t even participate in the conversation (although happy to)
This is part of a pattern:

(see here: james-mcandrew-has-no-solutions-lacks )

and so on. I guess if you are a representative of a group of people who like retards think they can continue to do what they do in the same manner as they always did things in the nineteenth century, ignoring views different to your own may appeal as a possible way to make the problems go away. In the world of the grown ups however, the perception of how to deal with challenges will differ. 

2017 Hadrian Award: Deborah Lehr

Deborah Lehr is the recipient of the 2017 Hadrian Award, presented at World Monuments Fund’s 2017 Hadrian Gala in New York City on October 16, 2017.
Lehr employs her vast professional expertise to safeguard and preserve antiquities under threat from conflict, extremism and looting in the Middle East and North Africa, most notably through the Antiquities Coalition, an organization she founded and leads as Chairman. Her leadership in U.S./China partnerships is also helping to advance sustainable urbanization and green economic development.

Antiquities Coalition

Friday, 20 October 2017

Book on Bible Museum Collection Reviewed

Hamilton Cain reviews the book 'Bible Nation; by Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden *(Publisher: Princeton University Press, 223 pages, $29.95.) for the Star Tribune. The book is 'a deep dive into the mission of the hyper-evangelical Green family of Oklahoma City, whose arts-and-crafts retail chain, Hobby Lobby, has yielded billions of dollars to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ'.  The book discusses the Green family’s acquisition of ancient papyri and artefacts forming one of the world’s largest private collections of biblical antiquities, and then the creation of a private Bible Museum to showcase these trophies and act as an evangelical tool:
Moss and Baden deftly highlight the cognitive dissonance at the heart of the evangelicalism, how and why the faithful cherry-pick Scriptures that buttress their own beliefs while dismissing contradictions among the texts themselves, [...] Moss and Baden draw on extensive research and interviews with a revolving-door cast of so-called experts and hangers-on, leaving no proverbial stone unturned in their quest to determine the value and validity of the Green collection, the Bible Museum’s underlying purpose. “Bible Nation” peels away the bark on one of the largest branches of the American family tree, using an academic story to tell a broader one: the evangelicals’ unshakable conviction in their own fantasies and the demonization of anything, or anyone, that dares to challenge them.
* Candida R. Moss, is a professor of the New Testament at the University of Notre Dame, and Joel S. Baden, a professor of the Hebrew Bible at the Yale Divinity School 

Found: A Mosaic From Caligula’s Ceremonial Ship, Turned Into a Coffee Table

Sarak Laskon outlines the sort of 'respect' collectors pay to artefacts while 'preserving and displaying' them in their homes. ('Found: A Mosaic From Caligula’s Ceremonial Ship, Turned Into a Coffee Table It’s now being sent back to Italy', Atlas Obscura Oct 20, 2017). Antiques dealer Helen Fioratti acquired a mosaic '45 years ago', it turns out that they has bought an item stolen from the excavations of an elaborately decorated ceremonial ship from the reign of Caligula in the first century A.D. that had been excavated in the 1920s. The mosaic should have been housed in the Ships of Nemi Museum since 1936 but from which it was provbably taken in World War II. The item was bought in the 19660s 'from a family of aristocrats' (anonymous in the articles about this case):
The mosaic, they told her, had been found in Lake Nemi, nearby the family’s home, in the 19th century. She spent thousands of dollars to buy it from them, shipped it to New York, and had it turned into a coffee table, which sat in her Upper East Side apartment for years. In the past months, though, the Italian military police’s Art Recovery Unit and New York’s district attorney office have been working to repatriate stolen Italian art, and the mosaic caught their attention. (It’s not clear exactly how.) 
Now wait a moment. You are an 'antiques dealer', though trading in over-the-top Donald Trump -Rococo  but the name 'Lake Nemi' means nothing to you? Really? and 'found IN Lake Nemi' also? Really? I guess that may be taken to imply that you do not really have to have much of a grounding in art history to become an art dealer in the USA.

The artefact was recovered when the owners bragged about their stuff (Claudio Lavanga, Saphora Smith, 'Artifact From Caligula’s Ship Found to Be a Coffee Table in New York Apartment ' NBC news Oct 20th 2017):
While the art dealer said she didn’t know how the Italian police became aware of the artifact she wondered if they had seen it in a magazine shoot of their apartment. “We had our apartment featured a long time ago in Architectural Digest and I’m sure there was a photograph of the table in front of the sofa,” she said.[...] But the widow said she was saddened to lose the piece. “I don’t know if anyone is going to see it as much as they did in my place. I had people who were interested in antiquities admiring it in my home all the time. Now it will be in a museum with a lot of other things,” she said.
Which is where the plebs like you or I will see it, and not in some elitist private apartment in New York.

Col Bogdanos reminded us that we know very little about Trafficking

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