The Guardian: Newcastle museum to return Benin bronze stave

The Guardian: Newcastle museum to return Benin bronze stave. “A Benin bronze in the collection of a Newcastle museum is to be proactively returned to Nigeria, the latest in a number of repatriations that ratchet up pressure on the British Museum to follow suit. Bosses of the Great North Museum: Hancock announced that it had recently been established that a brass stave with a distinctive bird finial had been looted from Benin City by the British military in 1897.”

US Department of Justice: Major Collection Of Cambodian And Southeast Asian Antiquities Is Subject Of Forfeiture Action Filed In Manhattan Federal Court

US Department of Justice: Major Collection Of Cambodian And Southeast Asian Antiquities Is Subject Of Forfeiture Action Filed In Manhattan Federal Court. “Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ricky J. Patel, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Department of Homeland Security (‘HSI’), announced today the filing of a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of 35 Cambodian and Southeast Asian antiquities from a private American collection for the purpose of returning the antiquities to their countries of origin.”

New York Times: Michael Steinhardt, Billionaire, Surrenders $70 Million in Stolen Relics

New York Times: Michael Steinhardt, Billionaire, Surrenders $70 Million in Stolen Relics. “Michael H. Steinhardt, the billionaire hedge fund pioneer and one of New York’s most prolific antiquities collectors, has surrendered 180 stolen objects valued at $70 million and been barred for life from acquiring any other relics, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in a statement Monday.”

New York Times: Cambodia Says Looter Helping It Reclaim Stolen Artifacts Has Died

New York Times: Cambodia Says Looter Helping It Reclaim Stolen Artifacts Has Died. “Cambodian officials say a reformed looter who directed a ring that pillaged Khmer-era temples for two decades, ending in the late 1990s, has died, but that they will continue to use the testimony he provided as they work to reclaim more stolen artifacts. The man, Toek Tik, 62, spent the last two years informing officials of his activities as he sought to help them reclaim hundreds of statues and other relics he said he had personally looted, many of which, Cambodia says, are now in private hands and museum collections.”

CBC: Hundreds of Blackfoot artifacts are held in British museums. Here’s how one project bridges the gap

CBC: Hundreds of Blackfoot artifacts are held in British museums. Here’s how one project bridges the gap. “In 2019, a group of researchers, Blackfoot elders and students from southern Alberta and Montana travelled to England to view Blackfoot items held in three museum collections…. Three years later, the culmination of the work undertaken is available on the Mootookakio’ssin website. The interactive website allows users to interact with historic non-sacred Blackfoot belongings that previously were only seen in museums.”

Dot LA: These Two SoCal Universities Are Working to Digitize and 3D Print Mesoamerican Artifacts

Dot LA: These Two SoCal Universities Are Working to Digitize and 3D Print Mesoamerican Artifacts. “William Cunningham’s voice is calm and patient over the phone. That sense of serenity will serve him well in the coming years as he helms the effort to digitize tens of thousands of artifacts, books and photographs, some nearly 3,000 years old, from USC’s collections of Mesoamerica as well as those at California State University Los Angeles. Cunningham, a digital imaging specialist at the University of Southern California Libraries Digital Library, will be responsible manning the camera and rig to capture a sprawling collection of artifacts and rare books such as recreations of Aztec codices copied directly from the original sources and a 16th-century edition of the ‘Cronica Mexicana’ by Hernando de Alvarado Tezozómoc, a writer and direct descendant of Aztec emperors.”

New York Times: Citizen Activists Lead the Hunt for Antiquities Looted From Nepal

New York Times: Citizen Activists Lead the Hunt for Antiquities Looted From Nepal. “Roshan Mishra recalls standing inside the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia, staring into the eyes of a wooden goddess that he believed was the same artifact that had disappeared nearly 50 years earlier from a local temple in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, where he lives. Mishra, director of the Taragaon Museum in Kathmandu, describes that encounter, in 2019, as the event that inspired him to create a digital archive of nearly 3,000 Nepalese artifacts that he believes are being held by museums outside the country.”

Wired: These historical artefacts are totally faked

Wired: These historical artefacts are totally faked. “Nora Al-Badri was bored by deepfake porn. She thought the technology, best known for putting people’s faces into videos they weren’t actually in could be put to work doing something better. As an artist who regularly works with digital technology, Al-Badri had an idea for a more interesting project employing an AI technique known as a generative adversarial network (GAN), commonly used for deepfakes. That work, Babylonian Vision, used GANs to expand what we know about ancient history and question museums’ ownership of objects in the 21st century.”

Applied Sciences: Copyright Protection of 3D Digitized Artistic Sculptures by Adding Unique Local Inconspicuous Errors by Sculptors

Applied Sciences: Copyright Protection of 3D Digitized Artistic Sculptures by Adding Unique Local Inconspicuous Errors by Sculptors. “In recent years, digitization of cultural heritage objects, for the purpose of creating virtual museums, is becoming increasingly popular. Moreover, cultural institutions use modern digitization methods to create three-dimensional (3D) models of objects of historical significance to form digital libraries and archives. This research aims to suggest a method for protecting these 3D models from abuse while making them available on the Internet.”

New York Times: Iraq Reclaims 17,000 Looted Artifacts, Its Biggest-Ever Repatriation

New York Times: Iraq Reclaims 17,000 Looted Artifacts, Its Biggest-Ever Repatriation. “When the Iraqi prime minister’s plane touched down in Baghdad last week after an official visit to the United States, its cargo included 17,000 archaeological artifacts returned by a prominent museum and an Ivy League university in the largest-ever repatriation of looted Iraqi antiquities.”

Department of Justice: Rare Cuneiform Tablet Bearing Portion of Epic of Gilgamesh Forfeited to United States

Department of Justice: Rare Cuneiform Tablet Bearing Portion of Epic of Gilgamesh Forfeited to United States. “Known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, it originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and entered the United States contrary to federal law. An international auction house (the Auction House) later sold the tablet to Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (Hobby Lobby), a prominent arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for display at the Museum of the Bible (the Museum). Law enforcement agents seized the tablet from the Museum in September 2019.”

Greek Reporter: Greek Antiquities Removed by Occupying Germany, US Archives Reveal

Greek Reporter: Greek Antiquities Removed by Occupying Germany, US Archives Reveal. “A 47-page document in the US National Archives recently unearthed by an English historian reveals the damage caused to Greek antiquities during Germany’s occupation of the country in 1941-1944. The document, by the Directorate of Civil Affairs of the United States War Office was written between November 1944 and March 1945. It was discovered by Graham M. Simons, an English historian and author who has written well over sixty books on aviation history.”

ARTNews: U.S. Government Seeks Forfeiture of Roman Statue That Was Allegedly En Route to Kim Kardashian

ARTNews: U.S. Government Seeks Forfeiture of Roman Statue That Was Allegedly En Route to Kim Kardashian. “A newly filed lawsuit reveals that, in 2016, the U.S. government seized an ancient Roman statue that was allegedly being delivered to Kim Kardashian. In the suit, filed on April 30 in the United States District Court of Central California’s Western Division, the U.S. government called for the forfeiture of the ‘illegally imported’ statue, which resembles the lower half of a person draped in fabric. The lawsuit, filed in rem (or against the statue itself), was first reported on Twitter by Robert Snell, a writer for the Detroit News.”

Introducing mdFIND: a Collector App for Unanticipated Artifact Discoveries (Southern Maryland Chronicle)

Southern Maryland Chronicle: Introducing mdFIND: a Collector App for Unanticipated Artifact Discoveries. “Several months ago, my colleague, Dr. Zac Singer and I began discussing ways to develop a smartphone app that could streamline the process of reporting unanticipated artifact discoveries in the field. To be clear, this app is not meant to replace completion of our standard Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) Archaeological Site Form for reporting newly discovered sites. Rather, we envisioned it as a supplemental tool, not meant for sites, but for individual artifact finds.”

The Regulatory Review: The Regulation of Stolen Cultural Artifacts

The Regulatory Review: The Regulation of Stolen Cultural Artifacts. “After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, looters stole thousands of Iraqi artifacts, which may now be purchased online for relatively low prices. Although the United States has returned many of these artifacts, thousands have slipped through the cracks…. A patchwork of laws and international agreements currently governs the transport and sale of illegally obtained cultural artifacts in the United States. The National Stolen Property Act (NSPA) makes it illegal to transport stolen artifacts across state lines but only covers items worth more than $5,000.”