Other cases of return or restitution of cultural objects

In some cases, the 1970 Convention does not apply formally: either the States involved have not ratified this instrument or one condition if application is not fulfilled (as non-retroactivity). Other solutions are therefore sought so that Parties concerned can find a mutually acceptable agreement. Even if they do not reflect a strict application of the dispositions of the Convention, these solutions are often adopted in accordance with the spirit and the principles contained in this treaty.

Guatemala, November 2017

©Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Guatemala

Guatemala successfully repatriated 18 pre-Columbian archaeological objects, which were illegally exported from the country in the 60s and located in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. More

USA – Lebanon, October 2017

A 2,300-year-old marble sculpture of a bull’s head will be returned to Lebanon Credit William and Lynda Beierwaltes

The 2,300-year-old sculpture had been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art until July when the museum turned it over to authorities after a curator raised concerns about its provenance to Lebanese officials, who requested its return. More

Republic of Korea – Mongolia, April 2017

©Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea returned 11 dinosaur fossils that were smuggled into the country from Mongolia.
The fossils include those of Tarbosaurus Bataar, a large carnivorous dinosaur whose remains are found only in Mongolia. The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office held a ceremony on 7 April to return the fossils, which were illegally brought into the country in 2014. More

USA – Italy, March 2017

The vase “Attic Red-Figure Nolan Amphora, ” a dual-handled vessel dating from 470 B.C. that is valued at $250,000. Credit Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

A stolen Etruscan vessel will be returned to Italy thanks in part to the efforts of a hunter of looted antiquities.

Last month, Christos Tsirogiannis, a Greek-born researcher who has spent more than a decade poring over auction and antiquities catalogs trying to identify stolen Greek and Roman artifacts, spotted an Etruscan amphora for sale at a Midtown Manhattan gallery.

Mr. Tsirogiannis, of the Scottish Center for Crime and Justice Research in Glasgow, combed through an archive of 13,000 photos and documents seized in 2002 from an Italian antiquities dealer, Gianfranco Becchina, who was convicted in 2011 of trafficking in looted objects. He spotted several photos of the very same vase.  More

Germany – Canada, December 2016

Jan Porcellis (1584-1632), Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea. Photo: Max and Iris Stern Foundation.

Two valuable paintings of former Dutch masters, despoiled by the Nazis in the late 1930s, were returned to the beneficiaries of a German Jewish art dealer exiled to Canada.

The paintings, “Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea,” by the marine artist Jan Porcellis (1584-1632), and “Landscape with Goats” by the animal painter Willem Buytewech the Younger (1625-1670), were recovered from an auction in Germany, which facilitated their restitution.

They were presented to the Max-Stern Foundation and its three beneficiary institutions, Concordia and McGill universities in Montreal and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.More

Germany – Iraq, January 2016

© Yu Zhang/ICOM

Germany returned to the Republic of Iraq a Sumerian clay cuneiform tablet on 14 January 2016. It dates from 2049 B.C. and records the distribution of flour to the crew of a ship. The tablet was offered in an online auction, in violation of the ban on trade with Iraqi cultural property in the EU, and seized by a criminal police office in the State of Schleswig-Holstein. More

Germany – Iraq, November 2015

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

The President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) handed over a 2,600 years old clay brick, with an inscription of the Babylonian King Nebukadnezar, to his Excellency the ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin. This object had been illegally removed from Iraq in 1975 by an individual, who had recently donated it to the Foundation.

Switzerland – Egypt, June 2015

Restituted objects © OFC

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture returned to the Egyptian Embassy in Bern, a batch of 32 ancient cultural objects, dating from the Pharaonic and Roman periods. Four of the returned items are extremely rare and of remarkable aesthetic quality: the bust of a king wearing a crown, a fragmented stele in honour of  King Siptah depicting the patron goddess of Thebes from the era of the New Kingdom (approx. 1500-1000 B.C.), and two architectural fragments depicting scenes of worship dating back to the Roman period (approx. 753 B.C. to 476 A.D.).
More information (available only in French)

Bulgaria – April 2015

Thracian mask and helmet © Prosecutor’s Office of Republic of Bulgaria

The Archaeology Museum in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second biggest town, recovered in April 2015 a Roman Thracian silver mask and helmet, stolen in 1995 following an armed robbery. Following a successful investigation led by the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office in Bulgaria, the precious artifact was returned to the museum. The mask and helmet date back to 1st century AD, and belonged to a Thracian aristocrat from ancient Philipopolis (nowadays Plovdiv) in whose burial mound it was discovered in the early 20th century.

Cambodia – 2015

Pandava statue © UNESCO

Between 2013 and 2015, Cambodia obtained the return of six of the nine statues of great cultural heritage significance, which were looted from Prasat Chen, Koh Ker and had been located abroad. UNESCO acted as a facilitator in the discussions. More information

Germany – Peru, March 2015

Restituted object © Landeskriminalamt Berlin

During the visit of German State President Joachim Gauck to Peru an ancient ritual knife (“Tumi”) was handed over to the Government of Peru on 20 March 2015. The knife is around 800 years old and forms part of the rich cultural heritage of Peru. Probably it had been excavated illegally in the Lambayeque region. German authorities seized it in Berlin in 2013, where it had been offered for sale by an auction house.

Germany – Italy, January 2015

Grave goods from Laterza / Italy © RGZM, V. Iserhardt

On 22 January, the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz (RGZM) handed over to Italy a collection of grave goods, dating back to the 5th millennium BC. The outstanding complex with a precious jadeite axe head sheds light on an early European elite, maintaining long distance relations between societies in Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, France and the British Isles. The seven artifacts were looted from a tomb near Laterza in Puglia, acquired by the RGZM on the art market in 1986 and now returned to the Soprintendenza per I Beni Archeologici della Puglia, which already has plans for an exhibition.

Germany – Greece, June 2014

Cycladic pan, dating from 2700-2400 BC © Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe

On 6 June, the state of Baden-Württemberg handed over two objects from the Cycladic culture – a marble figurine dating from 2700-2300 BC and a pan dating from 2700-2400 BC – to Greece. Both objects had been acquired by the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe in the 1970s and were returned in the spirit of the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

France – Nigeria, February 2014


An expertise conducted under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the National Museum of Natural History of France made possible to determine that this statue seized in 2012 is a cultural object of the Nok civilization. This civilization appears in Nigeria in 1500 BC. and extinct at the end of the first millennium BC. J.-C., at the confluence of the Niger river and the Benue (center of Nigeria). This is a very advanced civilization, both in terms of its social organization and its refinement, at a time when the rest of Southern Africa entered the Neolithic era. Nok culture is considered to be the oldest terracotta producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

The statue was stored at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, which took care of it gracefully. It was handed over by the President of the French Republic to Nigeria on the occasion of his travel on 27 February 2014.

Germany – Iraq, September 2013

Cylinder seals © German Federal Foreign Office

Thirteen ancient artifacts have been returned to Iraq, among them at least one object stolen from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad in 2003.

Among the objects seized by German law enforcement authorities were eight cylinder seals of up to 5000 years of age as well as several sculptures.

Tablet of cuneiform script © German Federal Foreign Office

Respecting the instructions left in the will of a private individual, a group of heirs has conveyed a tablet of cuneiform script, that presumably originated from the Nimrod palace, to the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, in Berlin.

France – Nigeria, July 2013

© Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international

These 6 objects were seized in 2010 and 2011. An expertise conducted under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the National Museum of Natural History of France, made possible to determine precisely the origins of these six statues dated from the Neolithic and the 11th-14th centuries. They come partly from the collection of the Esi Museum (State of Kwara) and are inscribed on the ICOM Red List.

These works were handed on 14 July 2013 by Mr. Jacques de Labriolle, French Ambassador to Nigeria, to Mr. Yusuf Abdallah Usman, Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Source: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/illicit-trafficking-of-cultural-property/other-cases-of-return-or-restitution-of-cultural-objects/

Stolen Roman sarcophagus restituted to Turkey

In 2010, the Swiss customs discovered an exceptional Roman sarcophagus in carved marble, in a warehouse of the Ports Francs of Geneva. Following a thorough investigation by the Geneva Public Prosecutor’s Office, in collaboration with the Swiss and Turkish federal authorities, this magnificent object was found to have originated from an illegal search near Antalya, Turkey.

Carved in the 2nd century AD, the sarcophagus represents the 12 works of Hercules on its flanks and weighs nearly three tons. It was found in the ancient site of Perga (near Antalya) , known today for its ancient theater, its long path lined with columns, its monumental fountain and its necropolis.

Details of the Roman sarcophagus, representing the 12 works of Hercules. ©Public Ministry of Geneva
Details of the Roman sarcophagus, representing the 12 works of Hercules  ©Public Ministry of Geneva

Ordered in 2015, the restitution of the sarcophagus to Turkey was the subject of various appeals. After two years of mutual legal assistance, the Herculean sarcophagus will finally return to its country of origin. Before its departure for Antalya, the University of Geneva and the Geneva Public Ministry, with the agreement of the Turkish authorities, agreed to exhibit the sarcophagus in Geneva, during the summer, in order to invite visitors to reflect on the problem of illicit trafficking of cultural property.

The ceremony of restitution, took place on June 19 2017 at the University of Geneva ; in the presence of the Director of the Geneva Museum of Art & History , the Rector of the University of Geneva, and the Minister of Culture of Turkey, H.E. Professor Nabi Avci and UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova admiring the sarcophagus during the restitution ceremony ©UNESCO

The event highlighted the importance and effectiveness of UNESCO’s 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Illicit trafficking is a cultural and social scandal that deprives people of their history, their past, and therefore their future.The example of international cooperation between Turkey and Switzerland in this restitution shows also the great power of cultural diplomacy in building bridges,” stated the Director-General.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Turkish Minister of Culture, H.E. Professor Nabi Avci / ©UNESCO

The Minister of Culture of Turkey, H.E. Professor Nabi Avci, thanked the Swiss Government for their cooperation and added: “Turkey will make every effort to help strengthen the UNESCO 1970 Convention, which is very important to halt illicit trafficking.”

This exhibition offers an insight into the life art of the ancient city of Perga.


For more information about the exhibition:

Exhibition “The rediscovery of a sarcophagus in Geneva” (June 22nd- September 2, 2017)

The University of Geneva


Roman sarcophagus, representing the 12 works of Hercules
Roman sarcophagus, representing the 12 works of Hercules ©Public Ministry of Geneva


Source: http://www.unite4heritage.org/en/news/stolen-roman-sarcophagus-restituted-to-turkey

The Sidon Bull’s Head: Court Record Documents a Journey Through the Illicit Antiquities Trade

A remarkable document filed with New York’s Supreme Court on Friday reconstructs the journey of an ancient sculpture of a bull’s head from its theft during the Lebanese civil war through the shadowy corners and winding pathways of the international antiquities black market.

The filing, an application for a turnover order filed by Deputy DA Mathew Bogdanos, recounts a Grand Jury investigation that traced the stolen relic through a who’s who of the antiquities trade before ending up on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was seized in July.

The 66-page filing is worth reading in full, as it bristles with insights into the antiquities trade that Bogdanos, the author of Thieves of Bagdad, has collected over more than a decade investigating antiquities trafficking networks. It is also a testament to the type of dogged investigation required to uncover the true history of a stolen antiquity.

Bogdanos’ investigation included the use of Grand Jury subpoenas, search warrants, interviews with witnesses in several countries and thousands of pages of shipping documents, customs forms and email correspondence.

“Nonetheless, even this investigation…has been unable to illuminate those well-appointed shadows where money changes hands and legitimate, but all-too-inconvenient, questions of the provenance and ownership history of the objects are frequently considered outre and ever so gauche,” Bogdanos writes. “Indeed, because so many shadows remain, and because the farther back we go the darker and more impenetrable are those shadows, it is best to trace the possession of the Bull’s Head backward…”

Anyone familiar with investigations of Mediterranean smuggling networks over the past two decades will recognize the dozen names associated with the object’s past.

The following summary of that shadowy journey does not do justice to the tale, but highlights the key players:

July 8, 1967: The bull’s head was excavated from the Temple of Eshmun in Sidon, Lebanon, by French archaeologist Maurice Dunand as part of a state-sponsored excavation.600px-Eshmun_Temple.jpg

1979: Amidst the raging Lebanese civil war, the bull’s head and other artifacts from Eshmun were transferred to Beirut and then to a storage area of the Byblos Citadel for safekeeping.

1981: Armed members of the Phalangist paramilitary group seized objects from the Citadel, including the bull’s head. After negotiations with the antiquities directorate, the Phalangists return many of the objects to the Citadel. But the bull’s head and dozens of other objects are not among them and disappear into the black market.

1980s: The Bull’s Head is associated with the George Lotfi Collection of Beirut and Paris and with Frieda Tchacos in Zurich (Nefer Gallery), according to a subsequent claim by the Met’s curator of ancient art Joan Mertens. Her source for this information is never clarified or documented.

April 11, 1991: Four sculptures stolen from Eshmun appear in an auction by the Numismatic & Ancient Art Gallery in Zurich. They are seized and returned to Lebanon.

December, 1994: Sotheby’s offers a male torso and a sarcophagus fragment from Eshmun for sale. Both are eventually seized and returned to Lebanon. Several more Eshmun objects are recovered over the years.serveimage-1.jpg

May 18, 1996: The Bull’s Head re-appears in shipping documents and was delivered to London antiquities dealer Robin Symes New York penthouse at the Four Seasons’ Hotel on 57th Street.

As Bogdanos notes, “There is not a single piece of paper known to exist on or about the Bull’s Head (C-17) between its disappearance from the basement storage room of the Byblos/Jubayl Citadel on August 14, 1981, and its brief appearance in the Transcon invoices in the summer of 1996…A neon sign flashing “stolen” would have been more subtle and less insidious.”


” data-medium-file=”https://chasingaphrodite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/council5feb08-352×224.jpg?w=500?w=300″ data-large-file=”https://chasingaphrodite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/council5feb08-352×224.jpg?w=500?w=352″ class=” size-full wp-image-6085 alignleft” src=”https://chasingaphrodite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/council5feb08-352×224.jpg?w=500″ alt=”council5feb08-352×224″ srcset=”https://chasingaphrodite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/council5feb08-352×224.jpg 352w, https://chasingaphrodite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/council5feb08-352×224.jpg?w=150 150w, https://chasingaphrodite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/council5feb08-352×224.jpg?w=300 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 352px) 100vw, 352px” style=”display: inline; float: left; margin-right: 11px; margin-bottom: 2px; max-width: 100%; width: auto; height: auto;”>November 27, 1996: Symes sells the Bull’s Head for $1.2 million to Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, who display it in their dining room. While Symes assures them the object is authentic, as Bogdanos notes, “there was not a whisper-not even the faintest hint of a whisper about whether it was a lawful antiquity. Indeed, the lawfulness of the Bull’s Head (C-17) does not appear to have been part of any documented conversation between the Beierwaltes and Symes.” The Bull’s Head appears on the market “like Athena full-grown from the brow of Zeus,” Bogdanos writes, one of several flourishes in his filing.

1998: The Bull’s Head and other objects in the Beierwaltes collection are displayed in an article in House and Garden. Christos Tsirogiannis, a forensic archaeologist specializing in identifying illicit antiquities, identified many looted antiquities in the Beierwaltes collection by matching the photographs in the article to photographs of looted antiquities contained in dealer archives.

2004: The Beierwaltes ask Max Bernheimer, Head of Christi.e’s Ancient Art & Antiquities Department, to appraise their antiquities collection. He appraised 115 objects in the collection at $51.5 million but never offered it at auction. Symes was revealed as their main supplier, the source of 97 of the 99 objects that listed a prior owner. “Symes was not just their main supplier, he was to all intents and purposes their only supplier: the direct, the essential, and clearly much-used link in a supply chain that started with the tombaroli and ended with the Beierwaltes,” Bogdanos writes.

serveimage-2.jpg2005: The Beierwaltes approach Hicham Aboutaam at Phoenix Ancient Art about selling the Bull’s Head and other antiquities in their collection, which is estimated to be worth $95 million. Phoenix appraises the value of the Bull’s Head at $1.5 million.

2006: Phoenix ships the Bull’s Head and other objects from the Beierwaltes to Geneva, where it is kept in the Geneva Freeport. “According to Hicham Aboutaam, and as is standard procedure with shipments to the Freeports, and hence part of the sine qua non of their existence, the Bull’s Head went directly from the Geneva airport in a Swiss-customs-padlocked truck to the Geneva Freeport. And it left the Freeport the same way.”

2008: Phoenix requested a search for the Bull’s Head in the Art Loss Register database of stolen art. The ALR had been provided details about the stolen Bull’s Head in 2000 but mysteriously failed to enter it into their database of stolen art. ALR issued a certificate for the object — a fact that, in Bogdanos’ words, “highlight(s) the dangers of relying on an ALR search and nothing more for provenance research.”

2008: Phoenix Ancient Arts publishes images of the Bull’s Head in their Geneva catalog in advance of showing the Bull’s Head at the 24th Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais in Paris. After the Paris show, it is shipped back to Geneva.


September 2009: The Bull’s Head is shipped to New York, where hedge fund billionaire Michael Steinhardt expressed an interest after seeing it in the Phoenix catalog but claimed in an email he was too “broke” to buy it at the time.   

August 10, 201O: Steinhardt acquired the Bull’s Head for $700,000 and left it on display at Phoenix Ancient Art’s New York Gallery.

October 2010: The Bull’s Head is loaned to by Met by Steinhardt through Phoenix Ancient Art Gallery. The only reference to its provenance is a single line of six words: “Ex-American private collection, collected in 1980’s-1990’s.” When the Met presses for more detail, Phoenix says The Beierwaltes aquired it from Symes.

2014: The Beierwaltes declare bankruptcy, declaring that their “primary business for much of their adult lives has been the acquisition, management and sale of an extremely extensive and valuable body of art works…[in]…a category of art known as antiquities.”

April 2014: Carlos Picon, the Curator in Charge of the Met’s Greek and Roman Department, noticed that the Bull’s Head on loan from Steinhardt appeared to be the same bull’s head missing from the Eshmun excavations. The object was removed from display and Aboutaam was notified.

April 16, 2014: Given the revelation, the Beierwaltes re-acquired the Bull’s Head from Steinhardt for $560,000 ($700k minus Aboutaam’s 20% commission). Steinhardt receives a piece of equal value from Aboutaam.

October 2016: Met General Counsel Sharon Cott writes to Steinhardt saying the Met intended to notify Lebanese authorities about the stolen Bull’s Head. William Pearlstein, the Beierwaltes’ attorney, acknowledged that the bull’s head was likely the one found in Eshmun but asked the Met not to contact authorities.


Dec. 5 2016: Met director Thomas Campbell notifies Lebanon that the bull’s head on loan to the museum appears to come from Sidon.

January 10, 2017: Sarkis Khoury, the Lebanese Director General of Antiquities, requests the return of the stolen Bull’s Head. He also writes to the Beierwaltes with a similar demand in March.

June 2017: Amid the District Attorney’s investigation, counsel for the Beierwaltes filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the Lebanese Republic and the Manhattan DA’s office seeking to prevent the seizure of the bull’s head.

July 7, 2017: Acting on the request from Lebanese authorities, the DA’s office seized the Bull’s Head from the Met.


Read  more: https://chasingaphrodite.com/

Looted Antiquity, Once at Met Museum, to Return to Lebanon



A Colorado couple has dropped a federal lawsuit that sought to stop the Manhattan district attorney’s office from returning to the Republic of Lebanon an ancient marble bull’s head that prosecutors said had been looted during that country’s civil war.

The 2,300-year-old sculpture had been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art until July when the museum turned it over to authorities after a curator raised concerns about its provenance to Lebanese officials, who requested its return.

The collectors, Lynda and William Beierwaltes, had argued that they bought the artifact in good faith for more than $1 million in 1996. But on Wednesday, the couple’s lawyer, William G. Pearlstein, released a statement that said, “After having been presented with incontrovertible evidence that the bull’s head was stolen from Lebanon, the Beierwaltes believed it was in everyone’s best interest to withdraw their claim to the bull’s head and allow its repatriation to Lebanon.”

In an unusual twist, though, prosecutors said they are now pursuing the return to Lebanon of a second work that they discovered while recently reviewing a profile of the Beierwalteses in an old issue of House & Garden magazine. In a June 1998 special issue, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos spotted an antiquity, “an archaic marble torso of a calf bearer,” in a photograph of the Beierwalteses’ home. Mr. Bogdanos said in a court filing that it too had been stolen from Lebanon.

The antiquity, which depicts a person carrying a calf, was later sold by the Beierwalteses to a New York collector, Michael H. Steinhardt, in 2015. Mr. Bogdanos said in a letter that he sent to a state Supreme Court judge earlier this week that the district attorney’s office had obtained a warrant to seize the work. Mr. Steinhardt could not be reached for comment.

The Beierwalteses had also sold the bull’s head sculpture to Mr. Steinhardt, who lent it to the Met museum. But, after learning about the provenance dispute, Mr. Steinhardt asked the Beierwalteses to take back the work and return his money.

This summer the Beierwalteses sued the district attorney’s office and the Lebanese government, saying they had clear title to the bull’s head artifact and demanding its return. But Mr. Bogdanos produced evidence that the bull’s head had been discovered during a state-sponsored excavation in 1967 at the ancient Temple of Eshmun in Sidon, Lebanon. The item had been put in storage after its discovery and then was stolen in the summer of 1981 during the Lebanese civil war. It later turned up in the possession of Robin Symes, an antiquities dealer, who sold it to the Beierwalteses, Mr. Bogdanos said in his letter to the court.

Mr. Bogdanos said in his letter that “although the bull’s head shall be released without the Beierwaltes or any other individuals being the subject of criminal charges, the investigation continues.”

The calf bearer sculpture passed though some of the same hands as the bull’s head, according to the letter. It too had been excavated at Eshmun and was stolen from the Lebanese Republic, prosecutors said. It was then sold in 1996 by Mr. Symes for $4.5 million to the Beierwalteses, who later sold it to Mr. Steinhardt, Mr. Bogdanos wrote.

In a statement Wednesday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said: “The art world must acknowledge that stolen antiquities are not simply collectible commercial property, but evidence of cultural crimes committed around the world. These important historical relics must be treated with caution and care, and galleries, auction houses, museums, and individual collectors must be willing to conduct proper due diligence to ensure that an item has not been unlawfully acquired.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/arts/design/looted-antiquity-once-at-met-museum-to-return-to-lebanon.html

Seizure – archaic marble torso of a calf bearer from the collection of Michael Steinhardt

In further identifications connected to the recent seizure and pending repatriation of a Lebanese marble bull’s head, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos through the New York authorities has issued another warrant on October 10, 2017 requesting the seizure of a second antiquity also believed to have been plundered from Lebanon during its civil war.

This object, an archaic marble torso of a calf bearer, was also acquired by William and Lynda Beierwaltes and then sold to New York collector Michael H. Steinhardt, in 2015.

Steinhardt’s collecting has come under scrutiny in the past.

The seizure warrant states that the described property constitutes evidence, and tends to demonstrate the crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree.
Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in Second Degree – NY Penal Law 165.52
A person is found guilty of criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree when he knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by an owner thereof, and when the value of the property exceeds fifty thousand dollars.

Criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree is a class C non violent felony in New York.
The warrant document further authorises law enforcement personnel to videotape and photograph the interior of Michael H. Steinhardt’s 5th avenue apartment as well as grants them permission to review stored electronic communications, data, information, and images contained in computer disks, CD Roms, and hard drives.

Curriculum Vitae Submission

Mentioning the name of institution (School, University...), Diplomas (Bacchaloreat, License, Masters degree, PhD...), Period (from/to)
Mentioning your full employment record: Name of institution or company, Job description, Period (From/To)
Why do you want to participate in this training course? (In your own words, please let us know why you want to learn about this field)

The participants

The target group comprises of Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi cultural heritage professionals with responsibility for, or experience, or expertise in acting against trafficking. The professionals will include archaeologists, archaeology professors and students, as well as law professors and students, and employees working for government authorities, universities, or in the private sector. The applicants will undergo a more rigorous interview process before selection based on merit.

The 2017 “Preventing the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property” training course

During January and February 2017, a similar training course was given to 23 individuals from Lebanon and Syria, from law and archaeological backgrounds. The participants were introduced to the issues, the market, international conventions and national laws, how to properly document and artifact and the role of public awareness. The Lecturers shared their expertise in different fields. Each lecture was followed by a 30 minute session for discussions, encouraging all members to participate. Group works were also assigned daily to encourage teamwork respect for the individual capacity of each participant. The overall objective was to help both nations by encouraging individuals to help their communities and local authorities protect their heritage.



The final ceremony was attended by the Norwegian ambassador, the General Director of Antiquities of Lebanon, and the president of the International Committee of the Blue Shield.

The training courses

During the ESTERDAD training, the participants will be introduced to a variety of topic, such as:


  1. The world’s antiquities market
  2. Differentiating between the legal market and the black market
  3. Understanding the international conventions, local laws, and laws in the major market countries
  4. Proper documentation of artifacts
  5. After identifying a stolen artifact, what measures should be taken to build a case for repatriation?
  6. Protection of cultural property in times of war and unrest
  7. The role of international organizations in times of war
  8. How to raise public awareness


The course will comprise two separate five-day “weeks” of intensive training by international experts on the matter.


Simultaneous translation will be made available. Each invited expert will provide supporting written material. Participants are welcomed to present the situation of the trafficking of cultural property in their countries.


At its successful conclusion, course participants will be awarded their certificate of attendance at a ceremony. At the end of the course, participants will be encouraged and supported to follow the market and try to repatriate or at least stop the sale of some objects identified in sales galleries or on websites through the preparation of clear and comprehensive dossiers that can be supplied to relevant law enforcement or juridical authorities.