Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tim Reid has saved me from doing the research into the fight over the mummy mask of Ka-nefer-nefer.

All I will add is that it might expose a problem in US law.  Essentially at present the museum is challenging the US Fedeeral Law on the basis that the statute of limitations applies.  (If I have understood the argument correctly, they are saying that because the mask was removed from Egypt in 1959, too long as passed for a case to be brought for its return.)  Although the museum bought the mask legally, their approach is not exactly helpful in the fight against antuiquities smuggling.


Scrabcake said...
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Scrabcake said...

After having read the information on the mask it's pretty clear that SLAM is in the wrong. I've done some research on the other items in the burial, along with drawings here: Ka Nefer Nefer

Paul Barford said...

The statute of limitations refers to the time when the US government knew about (the allegations about) the case and (SLAM alleges) did not take any action.

One might suggest that this almost looks as if the Museum trustees quite cynically waited for the five years to go by while claiming they were still "looking into it" themselves (and waiting for Cairo to provide further documentation). I have not seen any information released which shows they have uncovered a single scrap of evidence supporting the "collecting history" they received from the dealer selling it - a story full of holes.

I hope they lose. Scrabcake is right, all the information in the public domain at present suggests that the due diligence which they did BEFORE the purchase was very flawed.

See (follow the Laura Young link at the end).

This raises the fundamental problem with the antiquities market, those engaged in it are interested in merely staying within the law (as here) whereas the rest of us (and it must be said a large part of the museum world) regard this as an area where morals and ethics play an increasingly large role.

In recognition of this I understand a petition is going to be organized, please support it. I doubt whether SLAM will be shamed into doing what most of us would agree is the right thing, but at least let people who care show what they think about that.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Well am glad it is not just me which thinks there is something here which stinks.


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