Category Archives: Cultural Heritage

Evidencing threats to heritage in conflict zones

Posted on: September 11, 2017 by Emily Gould

“Scientists shoot rocks!” This was the opening line of a fascinating discussion exploring innovative methods of evidencing the destruction of cultural heritage in conflict zones held at the V&A last Friday evening (8 September). The event was part of the V&A’s ‘Culture in Crisis’ programme which seeks to raise awareness of the need to protect […]

Commentary on prosecution of UK man for antiquities smuggling

Posted on: August 30, 2017 by Andrew Swait

A UK man, Toby Robyns, was apprehended ten days ago by Turkish authorities, as he tried to leave Turkey with a dozen coins. He had found the coins with his children on the seabed while snorkelling. He is still in prison, awaiting a decision by the Turkish courts. Our Assistant Director, Alexander Herman, was interviewed […]

Reparations ordered in Timbuktu destruction case

Posted on: August 22, 2017 by Alexander Herman

Last week, the International Criminal Court in the Hague pronounced on the amount in reparations to be paid in last year’s Al Mahdi case. And it was a hefty sum: €2.7 million has been levied against the defendant, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, for his role in overseeing the destruction of ten cultural monuments in […]

Combating heritage crime: the international perspective

Posted on: August 9, 2017 by Emily Gould

As promised in our post last week, having looked at developments in the fight against heritage crime in the UK, we’re now turning our attention to the international context. We were considering in particular a number of interesting developments across a range of disciplines: the law, military practice, technology and community engagement. As regards the […]

Combating heritage crime: recent developments in the UK and around the globe

Posted on: July 31, 2017 by Emily Gould

Rarely a day goes by, it seems, without another concerning and saddening story about cultural heritage destruction. Whether it is the devastation of ancient sites in war-ravaged states such as Syria, Libya or Yemen or the ruin of yet another village church in the UK through lead theft, the loss is felt far and wide, […]

Destruction of the Mosul mosque and the challenges of international law

Posted on: June 30, 2017 by Alexander Herman

Yesterday, during what appears to be the near-conclusion of the battle for Mosul in Iraq, Iraqi forces moved further into the centre of the old town and, as they did, came across the ruins of the famed al-Nuri Mosque. The 12th century mosque, the same holy site where the ISIS caliphate had been proclaimed in […]

New Convention to tackle cultural property crime

Posted on: May 18, 2017 by Emily Gould

Tomorrow (Friday 19th May), a new convention intended to tackle international cultural property crime will be opened for signature by the Council of Europe (the ‘CoE’, Europe’s leading human rights organisation, including 47 member states, set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe; not to be confused with […]

One step closer for the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill*

Posted on: February 23, 2017 by Emily Gould

*Update: On the day of going to press, we later discovered that, with impressive speed and efficiency, the Bill received Royal Assent, so look out for further posts on the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017! As of this Monday (20 February) the UK is now one step closer to ratifying the 1954 Hague Convention […]

Pontormo portrait now stuck in export limbo

Posted on: February 20, 2017 by Alexander Herman

A 16th century painting by Jacopo Pontormo, Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap, which had been subject to an export deferral beginning in December 2015, is now stuck in cultural export limbo. This is because the owner of the portrait, American billionaire J. T. Hill, has refused a matching offer from a British institution, The National Gallery, […]

Report on Conference for Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas

Posted on: December 9, 2016 by Fionnuala Rogers

“A country is not recognised by its size on the map, but by its culture” Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova quoted His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, former President of the UAE at the International Conference for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas on 2nd and 3rd December […]