Culture crime news 23–20 November 2020


Hot this week: Returns to West Africa happening and not happening

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How Archaeologists Are Using Deep Learning to Dig Deeper
(24 November 2020; The New York Times)


New York authorities return ancient stele to Egypt (Egypt, USA)
(23 November 2020; The Art Newspaper)

Archaeological Unit of Rafah Land Port, Custom Authorities succeeded in seizing 9 archaeological coins (Egypt)
(26 November 2020; Egypt Today)

Why Restitution Won’t Happen If Europe Controls the Terms (General)
(25 November 2020; Frieze)

Nigeria receives repatriated 600-year-old Ife Tarrecotta (Nigeria, Netherlands)
(27 November 2020; Naija 247 News)

Inside the Illicit Trade in West Africa’s Oldest Artworks (Nigeria, Germany)
(24 November 2020; Zam Magazine)

Inside illicit trade in West Africa’s oldest artworks — Part 2 (Nigeria, Germany)
(29 November 2020; The Guardian Nigeria)

‘Restitution is important but it is not essential’: the African museums building a homegrown cultural revival (Senegal, Togo)
(27 November 2020; The Art Newspaper)


Canada To Return a Statue It Stole From India Over a Century Ago (Canada, India)
(23 November 2020; Vice)

While Installing Her Show at a Canadian Museum, an Artist Discovered a Looted Statue in the Collection. Now, It’s Headed Back to India (Canada, India)
(24 November 2020; ArtNet News)

El político estadounidense que se robó más de 3 mil piezas mayas de Chichén Itzá (The American politician who stole more than 3 thousand Maya pieces from Chichén Itzá; Mexico, USA)
(28 November 2020; Por Esto)

Where Are the Other Fake Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls? (USA)
(23 November 2020; Christianity Today)

Facebook is deleting evidence of war crimes, researchers say (USA)
(25 November 2020; The Verge)

California bill seeks to give tribes more standing to recover sacred objects from museums (USA)
(28 November 2020; San Francisco Chronicle)

The World’s Most Glamorous Quarantine Project (USA)
(28 November 2020; The New York Times)

The mysterious silver monolith in the Utah desert has disappeared (USA)
(29 November 2020; CNN)


How East Germany seized valuables from its citizens (Germany)
(26 November 2020; DW)

Israeli intel firm says it helped solve billion-dollar German jewel heist (Germany, Israel)
(22 November 2020; The Times of Israel)

Germany’s heist that shocked the museum world: the Green Vault theft (Germany)
(24 November 2020; DW)

Museum of the Bible returns hand-written gospels looted from Greece during the First World War (Greece, USA)
(26 November 2020; The Art Newspaper)

Police discover large network of European auction houses selling stolen ancient Greek artifacts illegally (Greece)
(28 November 2020; Greek City Times)

Painting missing for 23 years back on online display in Italy (Italy)
(28 November 2020; Xinhua)

Penitent American Tourist Returns Artifact Stolen From Rome (Italy, USA)
(25 November 2020; Forbes)

‘Please forgive me!’: US tourist returns block of stolen Roman marble (Italy, USA)
(27 November 2020; BBC News)

No trace of steel horse statues stolen from Katwijk meadow (Netherlands)
(25 November 2020; Dutch News)

Un intento de robo en la iglesia de La Concepción acaba con la detención de un hombre acusado de cinco hurtos con fuerza en La Laguna (An attempted robbery in the church of La Concepción ends with the arrest of a man accused of five robberies with force in La Laguna; Spain)
(24 November 2020; El Diario)

Swiss take steps to `decolonise’ cultural artefacts (Switzerland)
(22 November 2020; Swiss Info)

Police and council appeal for witnesses after Cefn Cribwr Ironworks vandalised twice in one month (UK)
(23 November 2020; Wales Online)

Bike disappearance mars Banksy artwork in Nottingham (UK)
(23 November 2020; The Guardian)

Strange case of the art dealer, the tech billionaire, his email and Picasso’s lover (UK)
(24 November 2020; The Sunday Times)

‘The law has to fall on someone’: Seller of allegedly fake Frans Hals must pay Sotheby’s $5.3m for cancelled sale, judge insists (UK)
(24 November 2020; The Art Newspaper)

Police may be asked to investigate how historic lamps were offered for sale (UK)
(24 November 2020; Brighton & Hove News)

Church crime team becomes national model for police forces everywhere (UK)
(27 November 2020; Leicester Mercury)

Passing sentences … what’s the worst kind of book thief? (UK)
(27 November 2020; The Guardian)

The art that isn’t there (UK)
(27 November 2020; Varsity)

Charles Darwin: Notebooks worth millions lost for 20 years (UK)
(25 November 2020; BBC News)

Charles Darwin manuscripts reported stolen from Cambridge University Library (UK)
(25 November 2020; Evening Standard)


$120,000 Arthur Boyd painting stolen from John Singleton’s Central Coast estate (Australia)
(23 November 2020; The Sydney Morning Herald)

South and East Asia

The tiger king and the stuff the British stole (India, UK)
(24 November 2020; ABC Australia)

Heritage Furniture Theft: Crime Branch Sends Team To Mumbai (India)
(28 November 2020; Mumbai Live)

Tamil Nadu: Stolen antique idols reinstalled in temple (India, UK)
(28 November 2020; The Times of India)

In Other News

Plant enthusiast is charged after stealing 45 bonsai trees worth $30,000 from his neighbours (USA)
(26 November 2020; The Daily Mail)