Articles on Antiquities

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Antiquities seized in a raid on Islamic State fighters in Syria were returned to the Iraqi government by the United States. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Inside ISIS’ looted antiquities trade

Profit estimates have ranged from $4 million to $7 billion. But with the Paris attacks costing only $10,000, does a number even matter?
After witnessing the rise and fall of many empires, the ancient site of Palmyra is under threat from Islamic State. Phillip George

Islamic State may finally efface the traces of lost empires at Palmyra

Conflict involving Islamic State has raised the prospect of the destruction of Palmyra, a World Heritage site in Syria. It's not the first time the region has been invaded, but it may well be the last.
In September, Tony Abbott returned two antique statues to India in the presence of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. EPA/ Government of India

Stolen cultural objects: what’s the role of Australian galleries?

Last week, The Australian reported that 49 artworks had been identified by the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) with gaps in their ownership history that could signal they were stolen. Asian antiquities…
This Assyrian winged bull is safe in Chicago, if far from home. How much else is safe? Trjames

Fears grow for safety of Iraq’s cultural heritage under ISIS

Iraq has a long and rich heritage, home for thousands of years to mighty empires – Assyria and Babylon, the Abbasid caliphate – that ruled the region once known as Mesopotamia, widely held as the cradle…
Would you like to see a stolen painting, like Schiele’s Portrait of Wally?

US bill would allow museums to knowingly exhibit stolen art

As Europe votes on a groundbreaking directive to help facilitate the return of stolen cultural treasures, the United States moves forward with legislation that would prevent claimants from recovering their…
The art and antiquities market is notorious for taking the word of the seller at face value. Quinn Dombrowski

The Dancing Shiva fiasco should shift attitudes in Australia

The announcement today that the Australian government will return the US$5 million Chola-era Dancing Shiva to India, after months of scandal focused on the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) and art dealer…
Syria’s ancient fortifications are sadly in use once again, and have been heavily damaged. Emma Cunliffe

In Syria’s ruined relics lies the history of human civilisation

What makes us human? Whatever it is, it can be found in Syria. When the earliest hominids first came from Africa they passed through Syria, and their remains, together with the tools they made, can still…
The Crusader fortress of Krak De Chevalier has been damaged by shelling after rebels used it as a defensive position. AAP image

The perils of history and antiquity in Syria

The looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq is an example the consequences of war on national heritage. Almost a decade on, the civil war in Syria has seen history repeating itself…

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