5 episodes

On Looted: The Podcast, we uncover the hidden stories of ancient artifacts and their journeys in the illicit antiquities trade. I’m Zoë Kontes, and I’m an archaeologist. When we archaeologists dig, we carefully record what we find so we can make the best sense of the evidence. But go to any museum, auction house, or dealer with an antiquities collection and you’ll be sure to find objects that have been removed from the ground without this kind of proper excavation. Looting destroys the context of artifacts, and while they may look beautiful in a display case, we lose any information about their significance or function in the culture that made them. This is a loss of our common human history, and it affects us all. Check out http://www.lootedpodcast.org for all episodes and more information!

Loote‪d‬ Zoë Kontes

    • History
    • 4.9 • 25 Ratings

On Looted: The Podcast, we uncover the hidden stories of ancient artifacts and their journeys in the illicit antiquities trade. I’m Zoë Kontes, and I’m an archaeologist. When we archaeologists dig, we carefully record what we find so we can make the best sense of the evidence. But go to any museum, auction house, or dealer with an antiquities collection and you’ll be sure to find objects that have been removed from the ground without this kind of proper excavation. Looting destroys the context of artifacts, and while they may look beautiful in a display case, we lose any information about their significance or function in the culture that made them. This is a loss of our common human history, and it affects us all. Check out http://www.lootedpodcast.org for all episodes and more information!

    Episode 5: Return to Sender

    Episode 5: Return to Sender

    On the program today we tackle the big question of repatriation and the decades-long debates involving some famous antiquities returned to Italy from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: the Euphronios Krater (pictured) and the Morgantina Silver.



    More to see, read, and hear:



    On the krater:



    Brodie, Neil. “Euphronios (Sarpedon) Krater.” Trafficking Culture, September 6, 2012. https://traffickingculture.org/encyclopedia/case-studies/euphronios-sarpedon-krater/



    Edgers, Geoff and Sofia Celeste. “Case in Italy suggests MFA received stolen art, Museum says it received no proof.” The Boston Globe, November 4, 2005.  http://archive.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/11/04/case_in_italy_suggests_mfa_received_stolen_art/.



    Hoving, Thomas. Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.



    Kennedy, Randy and Hugh Eakin. “Met Chief, Unbowed, Defends Museum’s Role.” New York Times, February 28, 2006. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/28/arts/28mont.html.



    Silver, Vernon. The Lost Chalice. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.



    Spivey, Nigel. The Sarpedon Krater: The Life and Afterlife of a Greek Vase. London: Head of Zeus, 2018. https://headofzeus.com/books/9781786691606.



    Watson, Peter and Cecilia Todeschini. The Medici Conspiracy. New York: Public Affairs, 2007.



    On the silver:



    Felch, Jason and Ralph Frammolino. Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt, 2011.



    The Met. “Statement by the Metropolitan Museum of Art on its Agreement with Italian Ministry of Culture.” Press, February 21, 2006. https://www.metmuseum.org/press/news/2006/statement-by-the-metropolitan-museum-of-art-on-its-agreement-with-italian-ministry-of-culture.



    Povoledo, Elisabetta. “A Trove of Ancient Silver Said to Be Stolen Returns to Its Home in Sicily.” The New York Times, December 5, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/arts/design/06silver.html.



    Singleton, Maura. “Plunder: The Theft of the Morgantina Silver.” VIRGINIA Magazine, Spring 2006. http://uvamagazine.org/articles/plunder.



    Steele, Chauncey D. “The Morgantina Treasure: Italy’s Quest for Repatriation of Looted Artifacts.” Suffolk Transnational Law Review 23 (July 2000):1-27.



    Stone, Shelley C. “Appendix 4: The Morgantina Silver Treasure.” In Morgantina Studies, Volume VI: The Hellenistic and Roman Fine Pottery, edited by Shelley C. Stone, 458-461. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.



    Thomas, Suzie. “Morgantina Silver.” Trafficking Culture, November 26, 2012. http://traffickingculture.org/encyclopedia/case-studies/morgantina-silver/.



    On repatriation:



    La Follette, Laetitia. “Looted Antiquities, Art Museums and Restitution in the United States since 1970.” Journal of Contemporary History 52.3 (2017): 669–687. (Published online July 2016 by Sage Journals online at DOI: 10.1177/0022009416641198 a href="http://journals.

    • 30 min
    Episode 4: Village Pillage (“Field Notes”)

    Episode 4: Village Pillage (“Field Notes”)

    Archaeologist Dr. Spencer Pope shares his thoughts on looting in Sicily, particularly at the site of Palikè, a 2400 year old town not far from Catania on Sicily’s east coast, in the fertile plains of the island’s active volcano, Mt Etna. The site has a mystical nature, considered sacred since antiquity due to the bubbling lakes near which it is situated. Looters use metal detectors at the site to find ancient coins, and in the process destroy important scientific evidence for understanding the mix of cultures that once interacted here.



    Our guest: http://classics.humanities.mcmaster.ca/spencer-pope/



    More to see, read, and hear:



    Maniscalco, Laura, and Brian E. McConnell. "The Sanctuary of the Divine Palikoi (Rocchicella Di Mineo, Sicily): Fieldwork from 1995 to 2001." American Journal of Archaeology 107, no. 2 (2003): 145-80. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40026074



    Overview of the site from the Ministry of Culture (in Italian)



    A recent article on illegal excavation in Syria, but with pertinent information on the looting of coins with metal detectors



    Other sites mentioned on this episode:



    Morgantina



    Naxos



    Piazza Armerina



    Agrigento



     



     



     

    • 25 min
    Episode 3: Big Bronzes

    Episode 3: Big Bronzes

    Cleveland Museum of Art



    There’s nothing like a full-bodied ancient Greek bronze nude to get the crowds to a museum. A visitor might even fall in love (speaking from personal experience—Riace Bronzes, here’s looking at you). We’ll focus on two of these very rare figures, found in US museums, but currently the subject of great debates of identification and international ownership.



    More to see, read, and hear:



    On the Getty Youth:



    http://articles.latimes.com/print/2006/may/11/local/me-bronze11



    http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2010/01/fano-athlete-new-revelations.html



    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/16/arts/design/16bronze.html



    http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2010/01/fano-athlete-legal-case-in-final-stages.html



    http://articles.latimes.com/print/2010/feb/12/entertainment/la-et-getty-bronze12-2010feb12



    http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2010/04/21/visualizza_new.html_1765197591.html



    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/04/entertainment/la-et-getty-bronze-ruling-20120504



    On the Cleveland Apollo:



    The Cleveland Apollo: New Comments



    http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2008/01/will-cleveland-museum-of-art-be-next.html



    http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf/2010/06/cleveland_museum_of_arts_apoll.html



    http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2010/06/cleveland-apollo-german-connection.html



    http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2010/06/cleveland-apollo-i-dont-know-who-theyre.html



    M. Bennett, Praxiteles: The Cleveland Apollo (Cleveland, 2013)

    • 24 min
    Episode 2: Figure Drawing

    Episode 2: Figure Drawing

    Cincinnati Museum of Art



    Marble figurines made ca. 5000 years ago in the Cycladic Islands of the Aegean became all the rage for collectors, and a great influence in Modernist Art. Easily looted and almost as easily faked, these objects have a unique role in the modern world. The question is, what was their role in the ancient world?



    More to see, read and hear:



    Gill, D. W. J., and C. Chippindale. "Material and intellectual consequences of esteem for Cycladic figures." American Journal of Archaeology 97 (1993): 601-59.



    Chippindale, C., and D. W. J. Gill. "Cycladic figurines: art versus archaeology?" In Antiquities: trade or betrayed. Legal, ethical & conservation issues, edited by K. W. Tubb (1993): 131-42.



    Review: A Seductive and Troubling Work. Reviewed Work: The Cycladic Spirit: Masterpieces from the Nicholas P. Goulandris Collection by Colin Renfrew, Christos Doumas. Review by: Ricardo J. Elia, Archaeology. Vol. 46, No. 1 (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1993), pp. 64, 66-69 http://www.jstor.org/stable/41766251



    Renfrew, C. "Keros: Rethinking the Cycladic Early Bronze Age", Penn Museum lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epwk71maFRc

    • 26 min
    Episode 1: Gold Digger

    Episode 1: Gold Digger

    Listen to the story of a gold funerary wreath, looted from Northern Greece in the 1990s, smuggled into Germany, and eventually purchased by an illustrious U.S. museum. With their abundance of gold and other luxury items, the royal tombs of Macedonia in this area have been the target of looters (and archaeologists) for years. The debates about the VIPs who may or may not be interred within (the father of Alexander the Great, for one) continue, and demonstrate the essential importance of archaeological context.



    More to see, read and hear:



    Andronikos:



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nka62V7PRs4



    Zirganos:



    ‘Operation Eclipse,’ in P. Watson and C. Todeschini, The Medici Conspiracy (2007), 306-324.



    https://www.amazon.com/Medici-Conspiracy-Illicit-Antiquities-Greatest/dp/1586484389/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481139930&sr=1-1&keywords=medici+conspiracy



    LA Times:



    http://articles.latimes.com/print/2006/dec/11/local/me-getty11



    PRI:



    http://www.pri.org/stories/2012-03-14/protecting-greece-antiquities-lean-times



     



     

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

ConklinG ,

Visit museums?

Then you should listen to this podcast!

JasonDunbar ,

First podcast gem

Zoe does a great job flushing out the history and the modern parameters of this tricky subject. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

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