Organisors: Dr Kairiss, Andris (Latvia) – Latvian Academy of Culture; Dr Bernard, Elisa (Italy) – IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca; Dr Borș, Corina (Romania) – National History Museum of Romania; Dr Munawar, Nour (Netherlands) – University of Amsterdam (UvA); Dr Musteață, Sergiu (Romania) – History and Geography Faculty, “Ion Creanga” State University.
Abstract: Large parts of new prominent archaeological finds and a vast number of mundane ones do not derive from archaeological excavations but have their origin in organized looting and metal detecting. While only a small number of such objects remains with their finders (even less objects are handed over to entitled institutions), most of these objects are traded through online platforms, cost sharing applications, auction houses, unscrupulous antiquity dealers and other channels. Higher valued objects are additionally whitewashed with fake papers. Little or no attention is paid to the provenance of the objects. All the aforementioned, and the frequent inability of states to claim illicitly excavated objects as stolen, or prove that they were looted on their territory, hinders the restitution process. However, recent cases as the Roman sarcophagus restituted from Switzerland to Turkey in 2017, or the Euphronios Krater from the MET to Italy, give hope. In our session, we would consequently focus on:
- Strategies for preventing and fighting looting and illegal trade of antiquities
- Raising public awareness regarding illicit and fake antiquities on the market and the need for provenance studies
- Inventorying and clarifying the provenance of doubtful objects in museums and private collections
- Principles of stewardship of looted and/or threatened antiquities
- Application of (inter)national and regional legal instruments for successful restitution
- Practical ways for cooperation with (non)governmental institutions concerning restitution
- Publishing objects of doubtful origin without ‘whitewashing’ them
- Restitution policy in peace and conflict times
You can find the programme of our session here.