Thursday, July 31, 2014

SOS SS United States

It's now or never to try to save the fabulous SS United States from the breaker's yard.  The downside is the cost of a refit for commercial use, but the upside is that other sources indicate that the liner has already had dangerous asbestos removed.  If all goes as planned, the liner may end up as an attraction in Brooklyn, New York.  Otherwise, sadly it will likely be scrapped given berthing fees of $60,000 per month.  For more, see the SS United States Conservancy website.

US Government Gives Up on Trying to Repatriate Ka Nefer Nefer Mummy Mask

The New York Times is reporting that the US Government is giving up on its effort to repatriate the Ka Nefer Nefer Mummy Mask to Egypt.  It remains to be seen whether ardent repatriations over at the Lawyer's Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation will now take up Egypt's cause.  However, given the turmoil and military dictatorship there, one might think leaving the Mask in St. Louis may be all for the best anyway, whatever ingenious legal arguments such advocates might come up with at this late date. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ACCG Files Reply Brief in Support of its Motion for Reconsideration

The ACCG has filed a reply brief in support for its motion for reconsideration of the Court's order striking its amended answer in the ongoing forfeiture case.   It discusses new Supreme Court case law and old legislative history that should be dispositive in favor of the Guild’s position that the government bears the initial burden of proof on where historical coins subject to forfeiture were “first discovered.”

More information may be accessed here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Balkan Corruption

More evidence, if any is needed, from Greece and Macedonia that the state ownership model does little to promote conservation, but much to promote corruption, sometimes at the highest levels. 

Trumped Up Charges?

The report that Egyptian customs officials have seized historical coins from a Sudanese citizen on his way to Australia should raise some questions.  First, the coins appear to be modern or though old, of little value.  Second, the claim they "were likely stolen from the Islamic museum" seems a bit odd.  Does the museum really hold such insignificant modern items in its stores?  Also, didn't prior reports suggest the museum was bombed not looted?  Finally, there is the fact that the perpetrator is Sudanese, a people who have suffered discrimination in Egypt.  Could this be little more than a story about customs officials finding some old coins on a passenger and jumping to conclusions to help justify the seizure?  One thing is for sure, such a story will provide little justification for efforts to impose US import restrictions on historic Egyptian coins of the sort widely and legally collected world-wide (except these days in Egypt).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Latest ISIS Culture Crime

The Conflict Antiquities archaeo-blog has published pictures proving that ISIS has dynamited a mosque and shrine devoted to Jonah the Prophet.   Another site lost to Islamic fanatics bent destroying not only places venerated by Christians and Jews, but even other, fellow Muslims.  Very sad.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More Overkill Coming in NJ?

The problem with activists is that they are often absolutists.   That is certainly true amongst the activists in the archaeological community, and perhaps even more true when it comes to animal rights activists who are lobbying against the ivory trade.  For some reason, they also seem opposed to the trade in antique ivory though apparently it is quite possible to tell old from new.  The latest venue for this battle against collecting is in New Jersey.  Of course, ban modern ivory, but a ban that does not contain an exemption for antiques puts many artifacts of significant art historical or even archaeological value at risk.