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This Encyclopedia constitutes a preliminary source of information on various aspects of the transnational trade in cultural objects. It comprises an inter-linked collection of short entries, grouped together and organized according to the headings Case Studies, Theory & Method and Terminology. They are further sorted by Place and by Subject.

Each entry synthesizes information taken from what are considered to be reliable sources, and presents a bibliography of primary publications to facilitate further and more in-depth research. The authors endeavour to prepare texts that are factually accurate and objective accounts, and the texts are not therefore indicative of an author’s personal opinion.

The Encyclopedia is a work in progress, and new entries will be added (and current entries updated as appropriate) as time permits. It is intended primarily as a resource for academic research into the trade, but has also been assembled with provenance research in mind, and should appeal to a broader constituency of interested readers. The authors endeavour to attribute any images that are used, but we should be contacted by the owners of unattributed images.

Fano Bronze

Fano Bronze

The Fano Bronze is a bronze statue currently owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum (Victorious Youth, 77.AB.30) but subject to an Italian claim for repatriation.

GE Mound Wikicommons Free Use

GE Mound

A Hopewell burial mound located on private property in Indiana that was illegally looted by road construction workers in 1988 and 1989.

Aphrodite Morgantina MiBAC

Getty Aphrodite

The Getty Aphrodite is a large (about 2.3 m tall) limestone and marble statue of a female deity, probably Aphrodite, Hera or Demeter, dating from 425–400 BC. It was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1988 and returned to Italy in 2007.

Getty kouros Photo Epsilon

Getty Kouros

The Getty kouros (youth) is a 2 m high marble statue owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum (85.AA.40), appearing to date from sixth-century Greece, though believed by many authorities to be a modern forgery.

Photo Siezed in the Medici Raid of Object that eventually was offered at Sotheby's in 1986

Giacomo Medici

Giacomo Medici is an Italian antiquities dealer who was convicted in 2005 of receiving stolen goods, illegal export of goods, and conspiracy to traffic.

120426washingtondc11

Gianfranco Becchina

Gianfranco Becchina is an Italian antiquities dealer who has been convicted in Italy of illegally dealing in antiquities.

Golden_horn_by_Richard_Joachim_Paulli

Golden Horns of Gallehus

The original Golden Horns of Gallehus, unique Bronze Age artefacts, were stolen and melted down in 1802, causing national uproar in Denmark and even inspiring a famous poem. In 2007, the replicas of the originals were also stolen.

Grolier Codex from Ruvalcaba 2008

Grolier Codex

A Maya codex of questionable authenticity that appeared on the market in 1971.

a huaco found by a huaquero in peru

Huaquero

A huaquero is a person who clandestinely excavates at archaeological sites for the purpose of obtaining marketable antiquities; a looter.

Onesimos krater Photo Getty Museum

J Paul Getty Museum Returns to Italy (1999)

On 5 February 1999, the J. Paul Getty Museum returned three artifacts to Italy after being informed that they had been stolen or illegally excavated.

Asteas krater

J Paul Getty Museum Returns to Italy (2005)

The J. Paul Getty Museum returned three objects to Italy in 2005 that were stolen or illegally exported.

2009 Photo Brodie 2

J Paul Getty Museum Returns to Italy (2007)

Artefacts returned to Italy in 2007 after Italian investigations into illicit trading.