Thursday, October 19, 2006

Repatriating disputed antiquities

An article by Jane C. Waldbaum, President of the Archaeological Institute of America on the Archaeology Magazine website: "By repatriating disputed antiquities, museums will be able to bring even more of the ancient world to the public. The restitution of antiquities to their countries of origin by museums has been much in the news recently. The government of Italy has claimed--and the Metropolitan Museum in New York is giving back--the famed Euphronios krater and a hoard of silver objects probably looted from Morgantina in Sicily; the Getty Museum in Malibu is returning "a number of very significant objects" to Italy and two ancient sculptures to Greece; and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts recently announced it will return several pieces to Italy. Greece is making additional claims on these same museums, and Egypt is demanding that the St. Louis Museum of Art return the 3,000-year-old mummy mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, a noblewoman whose tomb at Saqqara was excavated in the 1950s.
What's going on? Are U.S. museums the only targets of countries requesting the return of artifacts, as claimed by the Met's director Philippe de Montebello in a speech to the National Press Club last April? In fact, claims for restitution of artifacts are being leveled at many museums outside the United States."
See the above for the full story.

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