Antiquities and Crimes


Last month, charges against Marion True for conspiring to receive antiquities that had been illegally excavated and exported from Italy were dismissed. The case has taken over a decade to come to a close and has raised a number of issues regarding the acquisition of cultural property.

In response to the case, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) endorsed much stricter acquisition guidelines in its 2008 report, “Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art.”

Francesco Isolabella, True’s defense lawyer, maintains that True was innocent. Isolabella said, “It is worth considering how the Italian state orchestrated a major campaign to obtain works that are now in less committed and less organised environments than before. Considering the universality of these items [belonging to humanity], wouldn’t it have been better to leave them in the museums where they were?”

Read this interesting article regarding the cultural property issues at stake

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