David Nishimura picked up on a couple of major seizures last week in Paris and Moscow which indicate the illicit trade in antiquities is still going strong.
First, the BBC reports that in Paris over 650 Malian objects were seized at the Charle de Gaulle airport (see picture from BBC). The artifacts included axe heads, flintstones, and rings. Most of the objects dated from a couple thousand BC, however some may have been over 200,000 years old. These objects should soon be returned to Mali, however the archaeological context surrounding them is of course lost. There is no word on what may have alerted the French authorities to this shipment. It seems there were “[looking] out for artefacts being exported from specific countries such as Mali”.
A similar story from from Moscow: MosNews reported last week that Russia’s “cultural watchdog” agency had seized Byzantine-era items from Turkey. Some of the objects appear to have been taken from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara back in 1963.
Both shipments were seemingly on their way to American dealers and collectors.