Friday, May 27, 2011

Smithsonian magazine published looted artifacts

The May 2011 issue of Smithsonian Magazine has an article about the Maya site of El Mirador (Brown, Chip, 2011, Lost City of the Maya. Smitsonian 42(2 (May)):36-49.). The article includes photographs of several spectacular Maya polychrome vessels (p. 45) that apparently are not from the site. In fact, we have no idea where these vessels are from; they lack provenience. In a post on the Aztlan listserv today, Karen Bruhns identifies these vessels as unprovenienced, looted, objects.

In a subsequent email, she notes that at least one of the vessels are from the notorious "November Collection" of looted Maya art that caused a stir when it was exhibited in a number of U.S. museums in 1998 (New York Times article). This collection was featured in the very interesting and enlightening paper on archaeologists and looters by John Dorfman.

More at Publishing Archaeology