• "Illicit Antiquities: Scandal of Our Age" – Dr. Christopher Chippindale at the Australian National University

    Recently, I was fortunate enough to witness a special guest lecture by Dr. Christopher Chippindale that took place as part of the Centre for Archaeological Research’s annual lecture series, in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University, Canberra, my current affiliation. Dr. Chippindale has long been affiliated with Cambridge University, specifically with the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, and also serves as curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. In addition to his robust research on antiquities smuggling, he is also prominent in the field of northern Australian rock art archaeology. I will discuss the content of this guest lecture below, as his insights are profound, current, and worth wide dissemination.

    The presentation centred around three pertinent, but general, questions: What is the current situation regarding worldwide ...

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  • Context and the Morgantina Hoard

    The exhibition in Italy of the Morgantina Hoard has been in the news recently and David Gill discusses this on the Looting Matters blog (“Morgantina Hoard: on display in Rome “). This was a group of silver vessels that was reportedly dug up illegally some time before 1981 when the Metropolitan Museum of New York bought it. It turns out that it had probably been looted from the ruins of a Greek house in Morgantina, Sicily, and excavations in the building – on the basis of information received from artefact hunter Giusseppe Mascara – revealed traces of severe looting and two holes were found from which it seems the silver vessels had been taken. Eventually the Metropolitan Museum agreed to the material returning to Italy.

    Gill points out that knowing precisely where this particular group of objects (or rather two separate groups of objects now muddled up) had come from allowed them to be seen in the context of other items from that same context and its surroundings, which reveals the capability of that other information to add to our understanding of the objects themselves.

    Archaeologist Malcolm Bell had found names scratched on the bottom of several vessels. These showed that the silver had belonged to a Morgantina family, named Eupolemos. The same name was found inscribed on a lead tablet in the Morgantina museum, and the tablet is the deed to a house in the area where the excavations had revealed the looters’ holes.

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