Related Encyclopedia Entries
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.
Chalcatzingo Monument 9
An Olmec Monument that was looted from Mexico and returned by the United States in 2023.
Cleveland Museum of Art Returns to Italy (2008)
Artefacts returned to Italy in 2008 after Italian investigations into illicit trading.
Pre- and post-Conquest Aymara sacred textiles removed from the village of Coroma in the 1970s and 1980s in violation of Bolivian law.
Stolen South Arabian stela returned to Yemen by Phoenix Ancient Art in 2004...
Dos Cabezas is a Moche cultural site on Peru’s north coast that was the site of a major tomb looting event in the 1970s or 1980s and several recent looting incidents.
Ecuadorian Artefacts Seized in Miami in 1986
The trafficker, who planned on buying weapons with the proceeds from sale of the artefacts, was convicted of US customs violations after he was denounced by a confidential informant...
El Zotz Lintel 1
Classic Maya carved wooden lintel looted from the site of El Zotz, Guatemala, in the late 1960s and repatriated from the collection of the Denver Art Museum in 1998.
Euphronios (Sarpedon) Krater
The Euphronios (Sarpedon) krater is a red-figure calyx krater made in Athens circa 515 BC, signed by Euxitheos as potter and Euphronios as painter. It was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972 for the then record-breaking price of $1 million, and is now thought to have been excavated illegally in Italy in 1971. In 2006, the Metropolitan restored ownership of the krater to Italy.
G’psgolox Totem Pole
A First Nations totem pole which was removed from Canada under controversial circumstances and eventually repatriated from Sweden. It is the first Canadian totem pole repatriated from Europe.
Second century Roman piece looted from Turkey and returned in a deal that included a tax write off for the buyer.
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.
Gianfranco Becchina is an Italian antiquities dealer who has been convicted in Italy of illegally dealing in antiquities.
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.
J Paul Getty Museum Returns to Italy (2007)
Artefacts returned to Italy in 2007 after Italian investigations into illicit trading.
J Paul Getty Returns to Italy (2013)
The Getty Museum returned a looted terracotta head of Hades to Italy.
In 2001 a rich tomb was systematically looted at the Iranian site of Jiroft. Artefacts from this looting were trafficked out of Iran and several individuals involved were sentenced to death.
John Bourne Collection
Collection of Pre-Conquest metal objects, some of which were purchased in the United States in 1987 and were later identified as being from the site of Sipán, Peru.
The Kumluca Silver is a collection of more than forty sixth-century AD Byzantine silver artefacts, thought to have been found close to the small town of Kumluca in southern Turkey, and bought by Dumbarton Oaks in 1963.
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.
Machaquilá Stela 2
Maya sculpture looted from Guatemala and smuggled into the U.S. resulting in a ground-breaking court decision.
Marcus Aurelius head
Marble head stolen from Algerian museum recovered from Christie’s New York in 2004.
Maya Sculpture Seized in Brooklyn in 1999
Large Ancient Maya pieced seized from a Brooklyn residential garage...
Some of the most informative studies of the traffic in cultural objects have been conducted by investigative media.
A silver hoard removed from the Sicilian site of Morgantina by looters around in 1979/80 which was eventually purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Naranjo Stela 30
Stolen Maya sculpture seized by US Authorities when a crate carrying it broke open in the port of Houston Naranjo is a Maya site located near Guatemala’s border with Belize. It is 18 km north of the town of Melchor de Mencos via a logging road built in the 1950s (Peabody Museum n.d.). Naranjo was discovered in 1905 by Teobert Maler, who recorded 32 stela at the site, including Naranjo Stela 30...
In 2010 Christie’s New York returned a pair of Neo-Assyrian gold earrings to Iraq.
Paracas Mantle returned from National Gallery of Australia
Stolen from Peru’s national museum, the textile was purchased by Australia’s national museum and was returned in 1989 after several years of Peruvian demands.
Piedras Negras Stela 9
Maya sculpture that was stolen in the 1960s and reappeared for sale in Paris in 2019.
Placeres Stucco Temple Facade
A large Maya temple decoration that was located in 1968, a rare example of photographic documentation of the looting process.
Saqqara Royal Duck Vessels
Two stolen alabaster duck vessels returned to Egypt in 2008, one from Christie’s...
Sipán Jewellery Offered for Sale at Sotheby’s (1994)
Several Peruvian antiquities offered for sale at Sotheby’s Auction House in 1994 that were seized by US Customs under suspicion of having been looted from Sipán.
South Pole Exploration Artefacts Taken from Campsites of Robert Falcon Scott
Since the main Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, sites associated with the exploration of the continent have been protected. Items stolen from these sites have been subject to voluntary return.
Tattooed and preserved Māori heads, traded primarily in the mid-nineteenth century and the subject of a number of recent repatriation requests.
Toledo Museum of Art Return to Italy (2013)
In January 2013 the Toledo Museum of Art returned a piece that was discovered to have been smuggled out of Italy.
Tomb of Mutirdis Relief Fragment
Stolen Egyptian tomb relief recovered from Bonhams in 2008.
The Uigwe are several thousand historic Korean books which were removed from Korea by the French and then the Japanese during times of occupation and have been subject to successful return requests.
Uma Maheshwar from Nepal
A 12th century Hindu sculpture stolen from Nepal in 1982 and returned from a Berlin museum in 2000.
Vibia Sabina Statue
A 2nd century Roman statue looted from Italy, acquired by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1979, and returned to Italy in 2006.
A Roman sculpture: the bottom half was archaeologically excavated at the Turkish site of Perge and the top half was looted and eventually placed on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.
The ancient site of Zeugma in Turkey, now partially inundated by a dam, has experienced extensive looting, particuarly for its fine mosaics.