Culture crime news 31 August–6 September 2020


Hot this week: Mycenae NOT destroyed

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The Art World Is Full of Lies, Smuggling, and Financial Hijinks
(30 August 2020; Vice)


Colonial art: The case of a piece stolen from Cameroon (Cameroon, Germany)
(2 September 2020; CW)

Climbing up Egyptian antiquities without license now punishable with 1 month imprisonment (Egypt)
(3 September 2020; Egypt Independent)

Let Western Museums Lease the Art Stolen in Colonial Times (General)
(24 August 2020; Zam Magazine)


Tusk, tusk: First Nation concerned Yukon placer miners digging up more than gold (Canada)
(4 September 2020; The Narwal)

Gone for over a century, a ‘special’ piece of Kwakwaka’wakw history is returning home (Canada, USA)
(5 September 2020; CBC)

The mystery of a stolen rare cello has a surprise ending (USA)
(22 July 2020; Los Angeles Times)

The Latest in Restitutions: A Bill Offers California’s Indigenous Tribes Ownership of Ancestral Objects (USA)
(4 September 2020; Hyperallergic)

Missing for 25 Years, a Stolen Robert Spencer Painting Was Recovered by the LAPD (USA)
(4 September 2020; Observer)

A Rare Buddha’s Head Statue Once Looted by the Nazis Goes up for Auction in New York (United Stated, China, France)
(6 September 2020; The Value)


Germany’s colonial past catches up with it (Germany, Namibia, Tanzania, Burundi)
(30 August 2020; DW)

Cryptic Nebra sky disk might not be so ancient after all, say scientists (Germany)
(4 September 2020; CNet)

French dealer sues over Egyptian stele seized on way to Tefaf New York (Germany, France, USA, Egypt)
(4 September 2020; The Art Newspaper)

Fire at Mycenae has not damaged antiquities, ministry says (Greece)
(30 August 2020; eKathimerini)

Mycenae Site and Museum Reopen to the Public (Greece)
(4 September 2020; GTP)

British heiress was behind 1974 unsolved art theft for IRA: book (Ireland, UK)
(7 September 2020; Belfast Telegraph)

ICE recovers 19th century painting stolen from Italian monastery (Italy, USA)
(3 September 2020; ICE)

La Policía evita la subasta de un Miró robado (Police prevent the auction of a stolen Miró; Spain, UK)
(4 September 2020; Cadena Ser)

Christie’s launches war on ‘unfounded accusations’ questioning the origins of objects (UK)
(30 August 2020; The Telegraph)

‘Fake’ Rembrandt came from artist’s workshop and is possibly genuine (UK)
(30 August 2020; The Guardian)

Break-in sees damage caused at Tantallon Castle (UK)
(1 September 2020; East Lothian Curier)

Graffiti scrawled on Caerleon’s Roman amphitheatre as attraction vandalised again (UK)
(3 September 2020; Wales Online)

Mystery of The Lady in the Fur Wrap takes a novel twist (UK)
(4 September 2020; The Extra)

Hundreds of metal thefts in West Yorkshire last year (UK)
(6 September 2020; Telegraph & Argus)

Our museums are full of stolen colonial loot — let’s face up to our shameful history and give it back (UK)
(31 August 2020; INews)

Did British Museum Buy Most Of Its Thirteen Million Artefacts? (UK)
(4 September 2020; Modern Ghana)


Aboriginal woman’s skull handed in to police decades after discovery on Adelaide building site (Australia)
(1 September 2020; ABC Australia)

Theft of high-priced huia from rural museum remains a mystery (New Zealand)
(30 August 2020;

Berlin returns tattooed Maori heads to New Zealand (New Zealand, Germany)
(2 September 2020; The Art Newspaper)

German museum agrees to return mummified Māori heads to NZ (New Zealand, Germany)
(3 September 2020;

South and East Asia

André Malraux: big hero or `little thief’? (Cambodia, France)
(31 August 2020; Khmer Times)

China Launches 1-Year Campaign Against Theft of Cultural Relics (China)
(1 September 2020; Sixth Tone)

Two arrested for stealing seven silver idols from temple in Navi Mumbai (India)
(29 August 2020; Hindustan Times)

Idol of Lord Nataraja found in Tamil Nadu lake (India)
(30 August 2020; Deccan Herald)