Looting Matters: US Extends Agreement With Italy over Antiquities
SWANSEA, Wales, Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — David Gill, archaeologist, reflects on the extension of the memorandum of understanding between the US and Italy.
In 2001 the US and the Republic of Italy made a bilateral agreement that imposed import restrictions on archaeological material derived from Italy. The agreement was renewed in 2006, and in January 2011 the US Department of Homeland Security announced a further five year extension.
In recent years over 120 objects, including the Euphronios krater, have been returned to Italy from major public and private North American collections such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Princeton University Art Museum.
The US Bureau of Educational Affairs has issued an additional statement to show “looting is a current and severe problem” in certain parts of Italy. It cites the unpacking of the networks supplying the market through books such as Peter Watson’s “Medici Conspiracy”. This study demonstrated the implications of the Polaroid images that were seized in the Geneva Freeport.
The research of Italian investigative journalist Fabio Isman is also mentioned. Isman has continued to highlight objects that feature in the dossier of images. In the last year this research has included discussion of a public collection in Madrid, as well as items surfacing on the London and New York markets.
The US-Italy agreement acknowledges that archaeological contexts in Italy contain material that originated in other regions of the Mediterranean. There is a specific section on Athenian and Corinthian pottery. Such material regularly appears in funerary contexts in central and southern Italy as well as Sicily. Large rock-cut tombs have allowed 2500 year old objects to have survived relatively intact. The distribution of such pieces is important for our understanding of commercial activity in the ancient world.
There is one new feature of the US-Italy agreement as there is now a formal inclusion of “Coins of Italian Types”. This area is formally identified with six specific categories. These include “Struck bronze coins of Roman republican and early imperial colonies and municipia in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia from the 3rd century B.C. to c. A.D. 37″ and “Coins of the Greek cities in the southern Italian peninsula and in Sicily (Magna Graecia), cast or struck in gold, silver, and bronze, from the late 6th century B.C. to c. 200 B.C.”
SOURCE Looting Matters