Return of Ancient Artefacts throughout Eastern Europe

An antique sarcophagus-type 2nd century AD artefact has just been returned to Turkey.  This endeavor was made possible after substantial efforts made by global administrative bodies.

The discussion of the artefact began back in 2011 when it was declared that the sarcophagus was originally from Dokimion (today called Atalya), Turkey.  While it was Phoenix Ancient Art that housed the artefact from the 1980s, documentation failed to accurately identify its original home.  It was The Swiss Federal Culture Office that ultimately made this notification.

The exhibition is due to run from June 22 to September 2, 2017 in Switzerland at Geneva University with an inauguration “in conditions of the tightest security” three days earlier. Its final home will be in Turkey. In attendance were: Phoenix Ancient Art’s Ali Aboutaam, the Turkish Minister and Culture and Tourism Nabi Avci, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Rector of Geneva University Yves Flückiger, Member of the Executive Council of the State and Canton of Geneva in charge of Economy & Security Pierre Maudet, and Director of Geneva University’s Art Law Center Marc-André Renold.  As Aboutaam explained:

“We were able to find a common ground with the authorities and researchers, break a deadlock and find a positive resolution for the safe return of this exceptional sarcophagus. It was important for us that the object be cleared of any suspicion of illicit trafficking and to make sure the work of art was given to Turkey in the context of a properly regulated official process.”

Meanwhile over in Germany an ancient Egyptian artefact missing since the Second World War was also returned to an archaeological institute there. Originally constructed in approximately 1250 BC from an Upper Egyptian stone slab particle, it was recently discovered in the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology’s collection. According to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation an image of the Memphis Mayor (Ptahmose) is featured on it, with raised hands, indicating worship of Osiris and Isis gods. Experts have indicated that this was originally destroyed during the war and that in 1945 it was acquired by a private collector who thereafter bequeathed it to the Michigan museum.

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