• Local residents demand protection for Egyptian Museum

    A Euronews video shows Cairo residents forming a human shield to protect the Egyptian Museum, which houses tens of thousands of objects including most of the King Tutankhamen collection. “We are standing here and calling for the army to come as soon as possible and we will not leave until the army arrives.” The people demanded, determined to safeguard it from fire and looters, according to the article “Egyptians form human shield to protect museum”. A report from Reuters indicates that looters had managed to enter and destroy two of the mummies.

    By early early Saturday, Associated Press reported that the Egyptian army had surrounded the building and also moved inside to protect the collections.

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  • "A Primer on the Restitution of Looted Antiquities"

    The Fall/Winter 2010 edition of Cultural Heritage & Arts Review, a publication of the American Society of International Law’s Interest Group on Cultural Heritage & the Arts, is now available by subscription.

    One of the articles “The Ancient World Meets the Modern World: A Primer on the Restitution of Looted Antiquities” can be found on Herrick, Feinstein LLP‘s web site. Authored by Herrick attorneys Howard Spiegler and Yael Weitz, it discusses the unauthorized excavation and smuggling of cultural artifacts and the legal issues involved in efforts made to reclaim stolen cultural property in the U.S., as well as the trend toward the resolution of claims without litigation. It is adapted from the lead article of Volume 6 of Art and Advocacy, the quarterly newsletter of Herrick’s Art Law Group.

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  • Rock Art Vandalism…Again!

    Another incidence of rock art vandalism has been recorded in Arizona, this time at the Glen Canyon Dam, where the “Descending Sheep” rock art panel was damaged. An example of similar rock art can be seen at left (from http://www.travelpod.com/). A National Park Service employee reported that someone has scratched their name, “Trent,” onto the surface of the panel during a recent fishing trip he (the vandal) attended. Fortunately, the Park Service employee had stopped by to visit and document the rock art not 1 hr prior to the vandalism, so the passengers on the fishing trip were quickly located and one Trenton Gainey was pointed out and arrested. As this attack was just a quick scratching, it should be easy(er) to repair than intensive paint graffiti, although it will still cost the perpetrator $10,000 towards the repair effort, as it should! He will be sentenced on the 14th March. Constant vigilance!

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  • The right to rest in peace: Native American human remains and NAGPRA final rule

    After 20 years since its passage as federal law on November 16, 1990 the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is still capable of sparking off controversies and fiery debates among American Indians, cultural institutions, and academics.

    December 12th 2010, with a very much trite titles when it comes to Native American repatriation issues, “Bones of Contention, the New York Times published in its Opinion Page a contribution by Robert L. Kelly, professor of anthropology with the University of Wyoming who alarmingly warned that the final rule enacted by the U.S. Department of Interior on March 15, 2010 regarding the disposition of Native American culturally unidentifiable human remains will “destroy a crucial source of knowledge about North American history and halt a dialogue between scientists and Indian tribes that has been ...

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  • Costa Rican artifacts in limbo

    Kate Taylor’s December 31 New York Times article “Museum Wants to Return Objects, but There’s a Hitch” describes an interesting circumstance. The Brooklyn Museum has offered to return about 4,500 artifacts to Costa Rica in a culling effort to reduce its vast holdings and overstuffed closets, according to Kate Taylor’s article. Keeping some of the most valuable pieces, the museum’s earlier attempts to unload most of Minor C. Keith’s vast collection of Costa Rican artifacts to other American museums had failed. Now, although it looks forward to accepting the offer and “regaining part of the country’s cultural patrimony”, Costa Rica has yet to come up with the $59,000 needed to pack and ship the first batch. The article also points out that the objects are free from ownership or other legal issues, having left the country before the law restricting export of archaeological artifacts ...

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