Thursday, September 4, 2008

From North America to Athens: Further Returns Expected?

A contact has pointed me to a news story in today's Ta Nea (ΕΠΑΝΑΠΑΤΡΙΣΜΟΣ ΚΛΕΜΜΕΝΩΝ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΤΗΤΩΝ ΑΠΟ ΤΙΣ ΗΠΑ) (September 4, 2008). The article discusses the return of the two antiquities from the Shelby White collection. The calyx-krater, according to this report, was "stolen" from a "royal tomb" and was from the same workshop as the calyx-krater recovered from a tomb at Sevasti, Pieria (ο σπάνιος χάλκινος κρατήρας της συλλογής Γουάιτ είχε κλαπεί από βασιλικό τάφο και προερχόταν από το ίδιο εργαστήριο με αντίστοιχο που έχει βρεθεί σε τάφο του 4ου αι. π.Χ. στη Σεβαστή Πιερίας.).

However the report appears to be confused over one issue. It suggests that the (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia (FYRM)---the Skopje Government---was also trying to recover this calyx-krater. My understanding is that the officials of FYRM are seeking the return of the archaic "Koreschnica krater" from a North American private collection identified by Pasko Kuzman, director of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office (CHPO). This is said to be a volute-krater of "Trebenishte type", two centuries earlier than the Pieria calyx-krater. The monumental tomb is reported to be north of Demir Kapja, well within the frontier of FYRM. (I have been shown satellite imagery showing the alleged tomb's location.)

The report in Ta Nea notes that some 93% of the items in the Shelby White / Leon Levy exhibition, Glories of the Past, had no secure find-spot. This figure is derived from research conducted by Christopher Chippindale and David Gill and published in the American Journal of Archaeology.

Ta Nea concludes with the report that three items in the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Emory University are now the subject of an investigation by Greek authorities. Although the pieces are identified, I have requested a press release from Atlanta before I comment further on this story.

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