Culture crime news 3–9 September 2018


Hot this week: Tragic fire at Brazilian museum

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Blockchain to stamp out art crime, Thomas Crown Art
(3 September 2018; Coin Rivet)

When is it OK For Archaeologists to Dig Up the Dead?
(7 September 2018; Discover)


Egypt police arrest artifact gang in Cairo, seize ancient pieces: Ministry (Egypt)
(5 September 2018; Ahram Online)

Olasode in search of Africa’s stolen treasure (Nigeria, UK)
(2 September 2018; The Guardian)

Return stolen artefacts, Benin monarch tells UK (Nigeria, UK)
(5 September 2018; Punch)


Brazil museum fire: `incalculable’ loss as 200-year-old Rio institution gutted (Brazil)
(3 September 2018; The Guardian)

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever (Brazil)
(6 September 2018; The Conversation)

Rare Pacific Northwest artifacts lost in Brazil museum fire (Brazil, Canada)
(6 September 2018; Vancouver SUn)

Alarma robo de arte sacro; ‘acaban adornando la casa de ricos’ (Alarms raised over theft of sacred art; ‘they end up decorating the houses of the rich’; Honduras)
(3 September 2018; Excelsior)

Mexican historians prove authenticity of looted ancient Mayan text (Mexico)
(31 August 2018; The Telegraph)

Germany Returns Stolen Peruvian Pre-Incan Mask 21 Years Later (Peru, Germany)
(7 September 2018; Telesur)

The French Historian Who ‘Grave-Robbed’ The Dog Tags of WWII US Airmen (USA)
(1 September 2018; The Daily Beast)

No place like the rightful home: FBI finds stolen ruby slippers from `Wizard of Oz’ (USA)
(4 September 2018; The Washington Post)

Massillon man accused of stealing religious relics pleads not guilty (USA)
(7 September 2018; IndeOnline)

Miami Art Fair Heist Sparks Court Battle Over Stolen Painting (USA)
(7 September 2018; New Times)

Saginaw Indian Tribe ‘restores dignity’ to remains from UMich museum (USA)
(7 September 2018; MLive)

‘The remains of our ancestors are sacred’: Tribe upset over ancient skull found desecrated at Port Williams Beach (USA)
(7 September 2018; Q13)

They weren’t criminals so much as idiots’: The real story behind the art heist in American Animals (USA)
(7 September 2018; Metro)

Iowa Monument Continues to Recover Stolen Human Remains (USA)
(8 September 2018; US News and World Report)


President Macron, African art and the question of restitution (France, Burkina Faso)
(7 September 2018; The Financial Times)

Feds: US tribal items sold at Paris auction houses declines (France, USA)
(7 September 2018; The Journal Times)

Jewish heirs take on an art foundation that rights Nazi wrongs (Germany)
(3 September 2018; Business Mirror)

Santorini Aphrodite retrieved in smuggling bust (Greece)
(5 September 2018; eKathimerini)

How Brexit has revived controversy over the Elgin Marbles in Britain (Greece, UK)
(6 September 2018; Independent)

Seizure of Looted Antiquities Illuminates What Museums Want Hidden (Italy)
(5 September 2018; Hyperallergic)

Painting seized at Poland border studied as possible Chagall (Poland, Ukraine)
(7 September 2018; Houston Chronicle)

Swiss prosecutor returns ‘Mesopotamian’ terracotta animal made by dealer’s 11-year-old-daughter—along with 5,000 seized antiquities (Switzerland)
(31 August 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Terrorists targeted in museums (UK)
(2 September 2018; Express)

Illegally salvaged U-boat propeller given back German Navy in Plymouth (UK, Germany)
(4 September 2018; Plymouth Live)

Swindling art dealer to the stars faces more jail time (UK)
(7 September 2018; Punchline)

South and East Asia

Hyderabad: Burglars break into Nizam’s museum, steal valuable items (India)
(3 September 2018; The Times of India)

Thane: Rs 60-lakh temple theft; six arrested in 8 hours (India)
(4 September 2018; The Indian Express)

No upkeep of heritage splendour for decades (India)
(6 September 2018; The Times of India)

Idol wing starts probe at Srirangam (India)
(7 September 2018; The Times of India)

Book on idol thefts launched (India)
(3 September 2018; The Hindu)

When you fight the good fight: tracking down stolen idols (India)
(3 September 2018; The Hindu)

Birmingham museum returns stolen sculpture to India (India, USA)
(5 September 2018; AL)

Two stunning 12th century antiques repatriated to India by New York District Attorney and US Homeland Security Investigations teams (India, USA)
(5 September 2018; Firstpost)

Market for stolen Buddhist statues widens; rightful owners at a loss (Japan)
(7 September 2018; The Asahi Shimbun)

West and Central Asia

14 antiquities seized from smugglers in Jiroft (Iran)
(1 September 2018; MEHR News Agency)

US hands ancient Persian bas-relief back to Iran (Iran, USA)
(5 September 2018; PressTV)

Bronze Age ax repatriated to Lebanon (Lebanon, USA)
(7 September 2018; The Daily Star)

Volunteers Lead Restoration Efforts of Historical Venues in Raqqa (Syria)
(1 September 2018; Asharq Al-Awsat)

Where Do ISIS-Looted Antiquities Go? (Syria, Iraq)
(2 September 2018; Vice)

Ancient city of Palmyra, which was almost destroyed by ISIS jihadis, could re-open to tourists next year after restorations (Syria)
(6 September 2018; New Zealand Herald)

Louvre Abu Dhabi postpones display of world’s most expensive painting (UAE)
(3 September 2018; The Guardian)

In Other News

World-class hoop dancer reeling after regalia stolen (Canada)
(5 September 2018; The Star)

`The Dinosaur Artist’ Review: Old Bones Are Big Business (USA, Mongolia)
(6 September 2018; The Wall Street Journal)

$40,000 worth of rare, venomous insects were stolen in a tragic bug-lary (USA)
(3 September 2018; Mashable)

Philly insect museum heist reveals bugs are hot items on black market (USA)
(5 September 2018;

Museum Boss Fears Philly Insect Heist Was an Inside Job (USA)
(7 September 2018; The Daily Beast)