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Articles on Antiquities

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The Tailban destroyed this Buddha statue dating to the 6th century AD in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001. The photo on the left was taken in 1977. AP Photo/Etsuro Kondo, (left photo) and Osamu Semba, both Asahi

The Taliban’s rule threatens what’s left of Afghanistan’s dazzlingly diverse cultural history

From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban outlawed almost all forms of art while looting and destroying museums. With their resurgence, Australia must strengthen measures to stop trafficking of antiquities.
A Syrian archeologist holds an artifact that was transported to Damascus for safe-keeping during the Syrian Civil War. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

We’re just beginning to grasp the toll of the Islamic State’s archaeological looting in Syria

According to a new study, a small portion of a site can yield thousands of objects, adding up to millions of dollars.
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…

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