Friday, January 25, 2008

Special Topic: Museum & Looting News

Southwestern Archaeology Making the News - A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Federal Law Enforcement Raids Southern California Museums, Authorities Suspect Extensive Organized Crime Network Supporting Looting: Coordinated raids on four Southern California museums early Thursday suggest that the involvement of art institutions in the purchase of looted objects is far more extensive than recent high-profile scandals have indicated. Even as the country's most prominent museums were embarrassed by revelations of stolen artifacts in their collections, several local museums continued to pursue objects they had reason to believe were taken illegally from Thailand, Myanmar, China and Native American sites within the United States, according to search warrants served Thursday.,0,101198.story

- Raids Further Threaten the Credibility of American Musuems: It's another public relations debacle for the nation's museum industry, already tarred by reports that top institutions knowingly dealt in looted Italian artifacts. Federal agents raided several Southern California museums on Thursday, mostly in search of artifacts allegedly taken from Thailand's Ban Chiang archeological site, one of the most important prehistoric settlements ever discovered in Southeast Asia. Authorities believe they were smuggled into the U.S. and donated at inflated prices so collectors could claim fraudulent tax deduction.

- Timely Class on Legal Issues in Museum Administration to be Offered in Scottsdale: American Law Institute/American Bar Association presents a course of study at Scottsdale in April titled "Legal Issues in Museum Administration." A full program description and online registration are available on the web, at

- Time Magazine Fails to Respond to Archaeologist's Concerns that the Magazine Apparently Supports Antiquities Trade: Despite numerous letters from the professional archaeological community, not a single comment or letter to the editor has been published by the magazine.

Thanks to Garry Cantley and Irene Brace for Contributions to Today's Newsletter