Case Studies

Aidonia 4 Anemon

Aidonia Treasure

The Aidonia Treasure is a collection of Mycenaean gold and jewelry returned to Greece in 1996 and thought to have been robbed from a cemetery at Aidonia in the late 1970s.

Yajaw Te' K'inich ruler of Mutul de San Jose on a vase from the November Collection, MFA 1988.1177

November Collection of Maya Pottery

A spectacular collection of Classic Maya pottery thought to have been systematically looted from Guatemalan sites throughout the 1980s now in the possession of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Ubina coin from Postimees.ee news article

Ubina Hoard

Discovery of Viking-age silver, looted from a site in northern Estonia, in a German auction house, and their subsequent return, led to the first ever instance of a successful prosecution against looting and trafficking of cultural objects in Estonia.

Hoian_Cat1

Hoi An Shipwreck

In 1997, following the arrest in Vietnam of two Japanese dealers attempting to illegally export antique ceramics, a license was granted by the Vietnamese government to a commercial salvage company to excavate the Hoi An (Cu Lao Cham) shipwreck. The subsequent auction of finds from the wreck was largely unsuccessful.

port royal

Port Royal

Once a strategically significant port and fort located close to Kingston in Jamaica, Port Royal was largely submerged following an earthquake, which left its underwater remains vulnerable to treasure hunting and commercial salvage.

060818-peru-headdress_big

La Mina

A Moche funerary site in Northern Peru that was looted for spectacular gold objects during the same looting wave that hit following the discovery of the famous lord of Sipán tomb.

La Amelia Stela 1 Photo by Justin Kerr

La Amelia Stela 1

A classic Maya stela, cut into pieces for transport, which ended up in the collection of Sweden’s National Museum. It was returned to Guatemala in 1994.

Two_Xochipala_figurines_(Met_by_Ched)_

Xochipala-style Figurines

Formative period ‘Mezcala’ figurines from Mexico that are popular on the art market but have never been found in an archaeological excavation.

Hades

J Paul Getty Returns to Italy (2013)

The Getty Museum returned a looted terracotta head of Hades to Italy.

Sevso

Sevso Treasure

In 1993 a large, unprovenanced silver ‘treasure’ of Roman date was subject to a court battle over ownership in New York.