Showing posts with label Context Matters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Context Matters. Show all posts

July 17, 2015

David Gill's column Context Matters reviews “From Palmyra to Mayfair: The Movement of Antiquities from Syria and Northern Iraq” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In David Gill's regular column "Context Matters", the archaeologist examines “From Palmyra to Mayfair: The Movement of Antiquities from Syria and Northern Iraq” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Noah Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
The present conflict in Syria and northern Iraq has brought the issue of antiquities to the attention of the international media. This is due, first, to the scale of the recent looting revealed by remote sensing, second, to the possibility that archaeological objects were being used to fund the conflict, and third, to the deliberate destruction of key monuments and museum objects in what can only be described as acts of "cultural barbarism". At the same time there are more pressing concerns about the plight of refugees from the conflict zones, and the deliberate targeting of religious minorities. 
Looting is not a new phenomenon to Syria. And there have been instances in recent years of objects linked to that region turning up on the antiquities market. In April 2009 six Roman limestone busts surfaced on the London market at Bonhams (April 29, 2009, lots 48-53). ...
David Gill is Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Head of the Division of Humanities at University Campus Suffolk. He was a Rome Scholar at the British School of rome and a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was subsequently part of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale. He has recently completed a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War. 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.

May 28, 2014

David Gill on "The So-Called Crosby Garrett Helmet" in his column "Context Matters" for the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of ARCA's Journal of Art Crime

David Gill is Head of the Division of Humanities and Professor of Archaeological Heritage at University Campus Suffolk. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, and was a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was previously a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and a Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University (where he also chaired the university’s e-learning sub-committee). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and holder of the 2012 Archaeology Institute of America (AIA) Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2012 SAFE Beacon Award.
David Gill 
Context Matters 
The So-Called Crosby Garrett Helmet 
In late January 2014 a Roman bronze parade helmet went on display in the British Museum. It was said to have been found outside the small Cumbrian village of Crosby Garrett in north-west England. The helmet, now owned by an anonymous private collector, had previously been displayed at the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle (November 2013 to January 2014). The display in Carlisle was accompanied by a short illustrated booklet with contributions from a range of individuals (Breeze and Bishop 2013). Although the helmet reportedly surfaced within the last four years, a number of unanswered questions still remain. 
The helmet itself is a good example of a “sports helmet” probably for use in the hippia gymnasia of a Roman cavalry unit (Bishop 2013). It appears to date from the late second or the third century AD (Bishop and Coulston 2013; Symonds 2014, 16). Three examples of “sports helmets” were found at the Roman fort of Newstead (Trimontium) in Scotland (Toynbee 1962, 166-67, pls. 104-106, nos. 98-100; Maxwell 2005, 63; Breeze 2006, 85, fig. 64). The Crosby Garrett helmet shared a case in the British Museum with the second century AD Roman parade helmet found as part of a hoard of metalwork at Ribchester, Lancashire in 1796 (Toynbee 1962, 167, pl. 108, no. 101). 
The “Crosby Garrett” helmet is reported to have been found by one—though some reports suggested two—metal-detectorists from Peterlee in Co. Durham in May 2010 (on the east side of England). Peterlee is just under 80 km (50 miles) from Crosby Garrett as the crow flies. The helmet appears to have been “in 33 fragments, with 34 smaller fragments found in association” (quoted in Gill 2010a, 5). The site of the reported find was not shown to the Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs), Dot Boughton and Stuart Noon, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) until August 30, 2010, more than three months after the discovery (Worrell 2010, 30). Noon recalls being shown the spot by the metal-detectorists who claimed it was “not a particularly rewarding area” (Symonds 2014, 13). This is in contrast to the recognised significance of the area in the study of the indigenous population during the period of Roman occupation (Higham and Jones 1985, 83-85). Boughton, the FLO for Lancashire and Cumbria, has now given a brief account of the “Discovery” (Boughton 2013). She supports the suggestion that there were two individuals, a father and son, present at the discovery. It should be noted that the first photographs of the helmet appear in the hands of a woman with manicured fingernails and wearing a striped jumper. It appears that helmet’s visor had been placed “face-down in the ground, and the back of the helmet broken off but folded and deposited inside the visor” (Boughton 2013, 17). There is the suggestion that if PAS officers had not confirmed the find-spot, then UK museums would not have been in a position to bid for the helmet when it had appeared at auction (Worrell et al. 2011).
You may finish reading this article in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue (#11) of The Journal of Art Crime edited by ARCA founder Noah Charney. The Journal of Art Crime may be accessed through subscription or in paperback from Amazon.com. The Table of Contents is listed on ARCA's website here. The Associate Editors are Marc Balcells (John Jay College of Law) and Christos Tsirogiannis (University of Cambridge). Design and layout (including the front cover illustration) are produced by Urška Charney.

August 6, 2013

David Gill on "Dallas Museum of Art Takes the Initiative" in "Context Matters" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

David Gill
Professor David Gill writes on "Dallas Museum of Art Takes the Initiative" in his column Context Matters in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime:
The reporting and commentary on the so-called "Medici Conspiracy" has exposed the way that major North American museums acquired recently-surfaced antiquities (Watson and Todeschini 2006; Silver 2009; Felch and Frammolino 2011). This was in spite of the 1970 UNESCO on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the 1973 Declaration by the Archaeological Institute of America, the 1983 acceptance of the UNESCO convention by the US, and the varied acquisition policies of individual museums. Museums overlooked and ignored the ethical issues related to the damage of archaeological sites and, instead, emphasized the fact that they acquired objects in good faith and by legal means. Objects purchased through Switzerland, Paris, London, or New York were not considered to be problematic. The items had passed from their countries of origin to the international antiquities market. The release of the Medici Dossier photographs, seized in the Geneva Freeport, brought a sequence of major museums agreeing to hand over significant numbers of items: Boston's Museum of Fine Art, the Cleveland Museum of Arts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Toledo Museum of Art (Gill and Chippindale 2006; 2007a; Gill 2009a; 2010). And it is clear that material in other major North American museums has been identified and that this shameful list will expand.
Professor David Gill is Head of the Division of Humanities and Professor of Archaeological Heritage at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, England. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, and was a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was previously a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University (where he also chaired the university's e-learning sub-committee). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. he is the holder of the 2012 Archeological Institute of America (AIA) Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2012 SAFE Beacon Award. He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale. He wrote a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War in Sifting the Soil of Greece: The Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886 - 1919) (Bulletin of the Institute of Classics Studies, Supplement 111; London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2011), xiv + 474 pp.

Here's an excerpt from Professor Gill's column:
Are all the apples in the North American museum barrel rotten (Gill and Chippendale 2007b)? There is one clear exception that suggests that there is at lest one sensible voice of concern and reform. In January 2012, Maxwell Anderson, the newly appointed Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), became concerned about the museum's holding of material derived from Almagià. He clearly wanted to pre-empt any external investigation that could reveal embarrassing and potentially damaging information about the museum. Anderson decided to post details of the objects, along with their stated collecting histories, on the Association of Art Museum's Director's (AAMD) object register website. This website, hosted by Anderson's former institution, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, had been intended to be used for displaying information about new acquisitions, rather than reviewing the cases of older ones. Such a move indicated a major change in attitude toward the issue of toxic antiquities that were potentially lurking in the collections of North American museums.
This column is included in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA, (available electronically and in print via subscription and Amazon.com.) The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

October 17, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Columnist David Gill on "Fragmented Pots, Attributions and the Role of the Academic" in Context Matters

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, columnist David Gill writes on "Fragmented Pots, Attributions and the Role of the Academic" in Context Matters:
In January 2012 the Italian government announced the return of some 40 archaeological fragments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  The fragments had been bequeathed by a deceased American collector ("riconducibili alla collezione privata di un cittadino americano, deceduto").  The following day, the Italian journalist Fabio Isman reported, in Il Messaggero, that the anonymous collector was, in fact, Dietrich von Bothmer (Isman 2012).  Isman was able to add that some of these 40 fragments were part of objects that had already been returned to Italy from North American collections, or from objects that had been seized by the Carabinieri.  Bothmer had himself indicated that he "always gave fragments of mine when they would fit another vase in the collection" (Nørskov 2002:31). 
The Italian report specifically added the information that some of the fragments came from the Onesimos cup, returned by the J. Paul Getty Museum and now on display in the Villa Giulia in Rome (Sgubini 1999; Godart and De Caro 2007:78-79, no. 10); see Gill and Chippindale 2006: 312).  The first parts of the cup were acquired in 1983 from "the European art market" (Walsh 1984: 246, no. 73, inv. 83.AE.362).  At the time, it has been presented to the Museum, accession number 84.AE.8:" its acquisition was reported the following year (Walsh 1985: 169, no. 20, inv. 84.AE.80; see Williams 1991).  Further fragments, from the "European art market", were added in 1985 (Walsh 1986: 191, no. 47, inv. 85.AE.385.1-2).  It is significant that Dyfri Williams, who published the "Getty" cup, noted that he was shown photographs of "a rim fragment, made up of three pieces" in November 1990.  He does not specify who owned the pieces.  Subsequent research has shown that the fragments were derived from Galerie Nefer (owned by Frida Tchacos-Nussberger), and the Hydra Gallery (Gill and Chippindale 2006: 312).
David Gill teaches at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, England.  He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome and was a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge.  He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale.  He has recently completed a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War.

You may read Dr. Gill's Context Matters by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.

February 26, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2011: David Gill's Column "Context Matters" looks at "Compliance and the Antiquities Market

In the Fall issue of The Journal of Art Crime, David Gill, in his column "Context Matters" looks at "Compliance and the Antiquities Market." Here's an excerpt from his column:

Over the years there has been a major change in the way countries have sought to reclaim archaeological material that had been looted. Claims have been made against the background of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. This was accepted by the USA in 1984 and by the United Kingdom in 2002. 
Attempts to reclaim material were extended and tended to take time to go through the legal channels. Such disputes included the Kanakaria Mosaics to Cyprus, the Dekadrachm Hoard and the Lydian Treasure to Turkey, and the Aidonia Treasure to Greece. The case of the Sevso Treasure is unresolved as although it was certainly removed from its archaeological context by unscientific means, it has not been possible to confirm where this hoard was found. 
The seizure of the Medici Dossier in the Geneva Freeport (and related photographic archives in Basel and in Greece) has allowed the Italian authorities to adopt a different strategy. Images of objects in a fragmented state or still covered in mud have been an emotive force in the rhetoric surrounding the returns. Museums that were reluctant to negotiate were persuaded that bad publicity could be avoided if discussions about returns were initiated. In one case a major North American museum was shown images in 2005 and less than a year later had arranged to return 13 antiquities to Italy. It was, and is, hard to argue that something was in “an old collection” when the object had been recorded in a distressed state subsequent to the 1970 UNESCO Convention. 
Yet compliance has been reluctant in some quarters. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts was aware nearly twenty years ago that the torso of a Weary Herakles fit the abdomen and legs of a statue that had been excavated at Perge in southern Turkey. The presentation of a collection history that suggested that the torso had surfaced in Germany in the 1950s was a distraction. The situation was made more complicated as the donors had retained part ownership of the torso. Full title was eventually transferred to the MFA.
David Gill is Head of the Division of Humanities and Professor of Archaeological Heritage at University Campus Suffolk, UK. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome. He returned to Newcastle University as a Sir James Knott Fellow where he laid the foundations for Artful Crafts: Ancient Greek Silverware and Pottery (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994) written with Michael Vickers. He was appointed Museum Assistant in Research in the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge where he had curatorial responsibility for the Greek and Roman collections. He then moved to Swansea University where he was Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology. His Sifting the Soil of Greece: the Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886-1919) (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2011) was published to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the School.