Monday, February 27, 2017

Real Turn Around or Business as Usual?

It would be nice to think that Deborah Lehr and her well-funded Antiquities Coalition have had a real change of heart about how the antiquities market encourages cultural exchange and the preservation of artifacts, but given the group's consistent efforts to portray collectors as witting or unwitting accomplices of terrorists and cultural racketeers one has to really wonder if any change is just for the moment and for business purposes related to her international consulting firm.  Only time will tell.

Friday, February 24, 2017

ANA Warns Import Restrictions Damage Mission

The American Numismatic Association explains how import restrictions on coins that focus on place of minting in ancient times rather than modern find spots have damagesd its educational mission.  CPO once again expresses hope that the Trump Administration will perform a cost benefit analysis of such restrictions and their impact on various stake holders.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thomas Murray, an Appreciation

CPO expresses thanks to Thomas Murray for his all too short service on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.  President Obama appointed Mr. Murray to serve on CPAC in April 2013 to replace Bob Korver (who had resigned), but he was never allowed to serve a full term on his own.  This is a shame.  Mr. Murray, a past President of the Antique Tribal Arts Dealer Association, not only has real, tangible experience in the trade of ethnographic artifacts.  In addition, he actually represented the interests of his trade constituents by asking some "hard questions" at CPAC hearings.  In contrast, President Obama's replacement  for Mr. Murray may have political connections (albeit not with the party in power), but it remains unclear how he can actually "represent" the interests of the trade in either archaeological or ethnological objects as contemplated by the Statue. See Senate Report 97-564 at 9.  And, after all, "representing the interests" of  designated stakeholders is a major reason why CPAC exists.

Monday, January 23, 2017

CPACKed Again on the Way Out the Door

Before leaving office, the outgoing Obama Administration made late appointments or reappointments to all the available slots for the 11 member Cultural Property Advisory Committee.  CPAC members are appointed to three year renewable terms.  As such, the late appointments or reappointments appear calculated to try to ensure that CPAC continues the Obama Administration's "archaeology over all" approach to cultural heritage issues well into the new Administration.

As contemplated by Congress, CPAC is to represent the interests of the public (3 members), the trade (3 members), museums (2 members) and the archaeological community (3 members).  See Senate Report 97-564 at 9.

Under the Obama Administration, however, CPAC picks have been steered to individuals supportive of the retentavist views of the archaeological lobby.  Of course, this also dovetails nicely with the Department of State Cultural Heritage Center's use of MOUs as a "deliverable" to foreign cultural establishments to promote "good will."   At a minimum, all this "good will" helps ensure that the Cultural Heritage Center's allies in the archaeological lobby continue to get the foreign excavation permits they need to continue their work.  These permits allowing for excavations by foreign missions are then portrayed as prime examples of "cultural exchange" fostered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

But archaeology is supposed to be only one stakeholder, not the only stakeholder with an interest in the issues.  Moreover, CPAC ought to provide the President with useful advice so that he or his designee will exercise the "independent judgment" of the U.S. as to the need and scope for import controls.  Senate Report at 6.  Indeed, the Senate has emphasized that "U.S. actions need not be coextensive with the broadest declarations of ownership and historical or scientific value made by other nations."  Id.

Hence, the Obama Administration can and should be faulted for appointing NO ONE representing the interests of the antiquities and coin trade or the interests of members of the public who are collectors. Indeed, having some passing knowledge about trade issues is certainly not the same as "representing" those interests. (The one true "trade representative," James Willis, is an expert in ethnographic artifacts, not antiquities.)

CPO hopes the Trump Administration will undertake a full review of the operations of CPAC and the Cultural Heritage Center to ascertain whether both are operating as contemplated by statute.  CPO also hopes Obama picks (other than Mr. Willis) will be replaced at the earliest time possible with individuals that will provide useful advice reflective of the interests of all stakeholders.

Here are the recent appointments and reappointments to CPAC.

Key, A-Archaeology; M-Museums; P-Public; T-Trade. Where the affiliation is unclear from Obama Administration official announcements, the designation is followed by a ?

January 11, 2017 Announcement

John E. Frank (T?)- 
John E. Frank is Microsoft's Vice President for European Union Government Affairs, a position he has held since 2015 From 2002 to 2015, Mr. Frank served as Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Chief of Staff in Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs Department He worked as Associate General Counsel for Microsoft Europe, Middle East, and Africa from 1996 to 2002 and Corporate Attorney for Microsoft Europe from 1994 to 1996 Mr. Frank was an Associate Attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 1988 to 1994 and with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP from 1985 to 1987 He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Seattle Art Museum and served as Board Chair from 2013 to 2015 Mr. Frank received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.

ABC News lists Frank as a campaign donations bundler in the $500,000-plus category.

Karol Wight (M)- Was senior curator of antiquities at the Getty Villa and internationally renowned specialist in Roman glass, was named the next executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s foremost museum dedicated to the art, history, and science of glass.

Lothar von Falkenhausen (A)- Lothar von Falkenhausen is Professor of Chinese Archaeology and Art History and Associate Director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, where he has taught since 1993. He was educated at Bonn University, Peking University, Kyoto University, and Harvard University, and received his PhD in anthropology from Harvard in 1988. His research concerns the archaeology of the Chinese Bronze Age, focusing on large interdisciplinary and historical issues on which archaeological materials can provide significant new information.

Nancy Wilkie (A)- Nancy Wilkie is a distinguished archaeologist who has lectured on numerous study tours worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean. She is William H. Laird Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and the Liberal Arts, Emerita, at Carleton College where she was co-coordinator of the Archaeology Concentration. Nancy has worked on archaeological projects in Greece, Egypt, and Nepal, authored more than 30 articles, and co-edited three books on archaeology. From 1998-2002 she served as President of the AIA, and in 2009-10 she was the AIA’s Charles Eliot Norton lecturer, one of the highest honors that the Institute bestows. In April 2003 the President appointed Nancy to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department, on which she continues to serve. In April 2013 she was elected President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, an organization dedicated to the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict.

January 6, 2017 Announcement

Rosemary Joyce (A) - Cultural Property Advisory Committee; first appointed to CPAC in 2011.
Rosemary Joyce is an American anthropologist and social archaeologist who has specialized in research in Honduras.

James Wright Willis (T) - Cultural Property Advisory Committee; first appointed to CPAC in 2003.
James Wright Willis is the founder of James Willis Tribal Art in San Francisco, which he has owned and operated since 1972.  He is a member of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association and Friends of Ethnic Art in San Francisco.  In addition, he served on the boards of the Museum for African Art, the San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum, and the Ancient and Tribal Arts Study Committee of the M. H. De Young Museum.  Mr. Willis received his B.A. from Pomona College and his M.A. from San Francisco State.

December 15, 2016  Announcement

Dorit D. Straus (T?)- Dorit D. Straus is an Art and Insurance Advisor for Art and Insurance Advisory Services Inc., a position she has held since 2013.  Ms. Straus was previously Vice President Worldwide Specialty Fine Art Manager for Chubb, where she held various management positions from 1982 to 2013.  She has been a Visiting Lecturer at the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art since 2009 and was an Art Culture and Entertainment Manager at ACE USA from 1998 to 2000.  Ms. Straus was a Curatorial Researcher at the Jewish Museum from 1981 to 1982, an Assistant Collection Manager at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography at Harvard University from 1978 to 1981, and an Assistant Registrar at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts from 1976 to 1978.  She serves on the Board of Directors of AXA Art Americas Corporation, and the International Foundation for Art Research.  Ms. Straus received a B.A. from The City University of New York.

September 16, 2016  Announcement

Adele Chatfield-Taylor (P?)-Adele Chatfield-Taylor, a native of Virginia, is an American prominent arts administrator. She served as president and CEO of the American Academy in Rome from 1988 to 2013.

Shannon Keller O'Loughlin (P)- Former chief of staff of National Indian Gaming Commission. Ms. She also supports repatriation of indigenous artifacts.

James K. Reap (M?)-Secretary General of ICLAFI, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Legal Administrative and Financial Issues.  He also is associated with the Lawyer's Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.

Jeremy Sabloff (Chairman) (P?) -Jeremy "Jerry" Arac Sabloff is an American anthropologist and past president of the Santa Fe Institute. Sabloff is an expert on ancient Maya civilization and pre-industrial urbanism.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Egyptian Import Restrictions Notice Published; Conflict of Interest Concerns Raised

The US Government has published an extensive list of artifacts subject to import restrictions pursuant to the MOU with Egypt.  The effective date is 12/5/16.

The designated list restricts the following ancient coin types down to 294 AD:

H. Coins

In copper or bronze, silver, and gold.

1. General—There are a number of references that list Egyptian coin types. Below are some examples. Most Hellenistic and Ptolemaic coin types are listed in R.S. Poole, A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Alexandria and the Nomes (London, 1893); J.N. Svoronos, Τα Nομισματα του Κρατουσ των Πτολe μαιων (Münzen der Ptolemäer) (Athens 1904); and R.A. Hazzard, Ptolemaic Coins: An Introduction for Collectors (Toronto, 1985). Examples of catalogues listing the Roman coinage in Egypt are J.G. Milne, Catalogue of Alexandrian Coins (Oxford, 1933); J.W. Curtis, The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt (Chicago, 1969); A. Burnett, M. Amandry, and P.P Ripollès, Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69) (London, 1998—revised edition); and A. Burnett, M. Amandry, and I. Carradice, Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96) (London, 1999). There are also so-called nwb-nfr coins, which may date to Dynasty 30. See T. Faucher, W. Fischer-Bossert, and S. Dhennin, “Les Monnaies en or aux types hiéroglyphiques nwb nfr,” Bulletin de l'institut français d'archéologie orientale 112 (2012), pp. 147-169.

2. Dynasty 30 —Nwb nfr coins have the hieroglyphs nwb nfr on one side and a horse on the other.

3. Hellenistic and Ptolemaic coins—Struck in gold, silver, and bronze at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state. Gold coins of and in honor of Alexander the Great, struck at Alexandria and Memphis, depict a helmeted bust of Athena on the obverse and a winged Victory on the reverse. Silver coins of Alexander the Great, struck at Alexandria and Memphis, depict a bust of Herakles wearing the lion skin on the obverse, or “heads” side, and a seated statue of Olympian Zeus on the reverse, or “tails” side. Gold coins of the Ptolemies from Egypt will have jugate portraits on both obverse and reverse, a portrait of the king on the obverse and a cornucopia on the reverse, or a jugate portrait of the king and queen on the obverse and cornucopiae on the reverse. Silver coins of the Ptolemies coins from Egypt tend to depict a portrait of Alexander wearing an elephant skin on the obverse and Athena on the reverse or a portrait Start Printed Page 87808of the reigning king with an eagle on the reverse. Some silver coins have jugate portraits of the king and queen on the obverse. Bronze coins of the Ptolemies commonly depict a head of Zeus (bearded) on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. These iconographical descriptions are non-exclusive and describe only some of the more common examples. There are other types and variants. Approximate date: ca. 332 B.C. through ca. 31 B.C.

4. Roman coins—Struck in silver or bronze at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state in the territory of the modern state of Egypt until the monetary reforms of Diocletian. The iconography of the coinage in the Roman period varied widely, although a portrait of the reigning emperor is almost always present on the obverse of the coin. Approximate date: ca. 31 B.C. through ca. A.D. 294.

With respect to the wording of the restrictions themselves, Customs has reverted back to restrictions based on place of manufacture rather than find spot. (Recent Syrian import restrictions followed the statutory requirements more closely-- likely because they were receiving special scrutiny in Congress.)

This is significant because such restrictions ignore evidence that demonstrates that Egyptian mint coins are regularly discovered outside of Egypt.  Egypt's so-called "closed monetary system” was meant to keep foreign coins "out" and not Egyptian coins “in.” Hoard evidence confirms Ptolemaic coins from Egyptian mints circulated throughout the Ptolemaic Empire which stretched well beyond the confines of modern-day Egypt.  (And, indeed, some hoards are found outside the Empire's territory.)  They also ignored finds reported under the UK's PAS that show Roman Egyptian Tetradrachms circulated as far away as Roman Britain. 

Finally, it is troubling that Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Educational Affairs, made the decision despite a recusal request made on behalf of numismatic trade and advocacy groups. In CPO's view, Ryan's acceptance of an award from the AIA  raises serious conflict of interest issues, if not a violation of ethics rules concerning the acceptance of gifts and awards.  Of course, the AIA lobbied heavily for a MOU with Egypt, and the AIA's award to Ryan specifically referenced ECA's work in implementing MOU's.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kerry Ignorant of Collateral Damage to Legitimate Trade and Museums

It's evident listening to Secretary Kerry that he has been grossly misinformed about how the State Department and CBP misapply import restrictions under the CPIA.  If restrictions were applied as contemplated, there would not be so much collateral damage to the legitimate trade.  Unfortunately, however, our CBP and State Department take cues not from the plain meaning of the statute, but from the archaeological lobby's desire to "shift the burden of proof" to the collector based on the dubious assumption that undocumented means stolen.

Under the CPIA, the burden is on the government to prove: (1) the item is of a type that appears on the designated list; (2) the item was first discovered within and subject to the export control of the country for which restrictions were granted; and (3) that it was illegally removed from the country for which import restrictions were granted after the date the restrictions were imposed.  19 USC Sections 2601, 2604, 2606, 2610.  Draconian rules that assume guilt after only the first element is proved are for dictatorships like Egypt, not for democracies that respect rule of law like the United States.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Outgoing Obama Administration Gifts Egypt and Archaeological Lobby with a MOU

The outgoing Obama Administration has gifted Egypt's authoritarian government, its cultural bureaucracy and supportive archaeologists with a MOU that will likely ban import of undocumented Egyptian antiquities created before 1517.

In so doing, the Administration has ignored 91% of the public comment to CPAC which raised serious concerns with any MOU.  Moreover, the decision once again raises the question whether there was any "done deal" from the outset.

Implementing regulations are expected soon.