18 Stories

ISIS Driven Out of Palmyra

Syrian forces now combing historic city for booby traps

(Newser) - Syrian government forces backed by Russian airstrikes drove Islamic State fighters from Palmyra on Sunday, reports the AP , ending the group's 10-month reign of terror over a town whose famed 2,000-year-old ruins once drew tens of thousands of visitors each year. Government forces had been on the offensive... More »

Hobby Lobby Clan Suspected of Looting Iraq Antiquities

4-year federal probe looks into whether ancient tablets were smuggled into US

(Newser) - The Museum of the Bible being built in DC by the Christian family behind one of the nation's biggest arts-and-crafts retailers is coming along nicely. Maybe too nicely, per law enforcement sources, who tell the Daily Beast that the Green family—the ones whose Hobby Lobby chain claimed a... More »

ISIS Destroys Ancient 'Arch of Triumph'

It had stood in Palmyra for 2K years

(Newser) - Syrian activists say ISIS militants have destroyed a nearly 2,000-year-old arch in the ancient city of Palmyra, the latest victim in the group's campaign to destroy historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. The Arch of Triumph was one of the most recognizable sites... More »

New Mission in Iraq, Syria: Save Ancient Treasures From ISIS

Precious antiquities being destroyed by militants

(Newser) - ISIS militants have trashed museum pieces in Mosul with sledgehammers, bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, and yesterday destroyed the Hatra ruins in Iraq, reports the BBC . But while the New York Times catalogs everything that antiquities ministers and workers are doing to stave off the annihilation of some... More »

Chance Photo Leads to Alleged 'Cave of Skulls' Looters

Thieves sought ancient scrolls for local market, officials say

(Newser) - Trying to steal a comb is one thing—looting a 2,000-year-old comb from an ancient cave is quite another. Israel says it has apprehended a gang of thieves doing the latter from a Judean cave in the same region as the caves that once housed the Dead Sea Scrolls,... More »

Turkey to US Museums: We Want Our Stuff Back

Nation seeks return of looted antiquities

(Newser) - Turkey has taken note of how neighbors Italy and Greece have cajoled US museums into returning their long-lost antiquities, and it wants in. The government has asked four American facilities—the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Met, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Harvard's Dumbarton Oaks collection—to return... More »

Is This the Burial Box of Jesus' Brother? Still No Answer

Judge unable to determine whether ossuary once held bones of James

(Newser) - After seven years of hearings about a 2,000-year-old box, an Israeli judge has let an alleged forger off the hook without ruling on whether the burial box once held the bones of James, one of four brothers of Jesus named in the New Testament. The limestone box carries the... More »

Israeli Storm Unearths Ancient Roman Statue

Roman-era statue found on beach after cliff collapse

(Newser) - A Roman-era statue was uncovered when part of an Israeli cliff collapsed in a huge storm, sending an archeological site tumbling into the sea. The 4-foot statue of a woman wearing a toga, believed to be around 2.000 years old, was found by a person walking on the shore... More »

Berlusconi Replaces Ancient Penis—on Statue

Art experts slam 'plastic surgery' on Roman statue

(Newser) - A penis has, once again, landed Silvio Berlusconi in trouble. The Italian leader is under fire for spending some $100,000 in public funds to replace a missing penis on a 2nd-century Roman statue of Mars and a hand on a statue of Venus, the BBC reports. Art experts complain... More »

Statue of King Tut's Granddad Unearthed

Likeness of Amenhotep III stands more than four feet tall

(Newser) - The King Tut news just keeps coming: There was the mystery of his death (solved!), the curse of his grave , and who can forget: the case of his missing penis . Now, Egyptologists are excited to report they've found a limestone statue of the Boy King's grandfather. The sculpture of... More »

Thieves Grab Stolen Antiquities Exhibit

Recovered black-market items back on the black market

(Newser) - A museum exhibit featuring "Antiquities Theft in Israel" has become the victim of antiquities theft in Israel. Thieves broke into the museum in Ashdod, southern Israel, and stole the display of items recovered from the black market, the Telegraph reports. The antiquities theft squad that recovered the items, including... More »

Egypt Discovers Ancient Cat God Temple

Queen's site had lots of statues dedicated to the feline goddess Bastet

(Newser) - Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that appears to have been dedicated to the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet. The team unearthed a large collection of statues depicting Bastet, suggesting that worship of the feline goddess continued longer than previously thought. The temple belonged to Queen Berenike, the wife of... More »

Germany: We're Keeping Nefertiti

Museum says ancient bust too fragile to go back to Egypt

(Newser) - Germany has refused Egypt's latest request for the return an ancient bust of Queen Nefertiti held in a Berlin museum. Officials say the 3,300-year-old bust is too fragile to be moved and insist it was acquired legally by Prussia nearly 100 years ago, the BBC reports. The bust was... More »

Egypt Demands Rosetta Stone Back

But the British Museum's intent on keeping it

(Newser) - Egypt’s top antiquities official will head to Britain tomorrow in his quest to goad the British Museum into returning the Rosetta Stone. Dr. Zahi Hawass calls the stone an “icon of Egyptian identity,” and says the museum doesn’t really value it. “They kept it in... More »

Auction Winner Won't Pay for Chinese Relics

Collector says he bid $36 million on antiquities as protest

(Newser) - Among the most closely watched lots at last week's Paris auction of Yves Saint Laurent's art collection were two imperial Chinese bronzes that each sold for $18 million. Beijing spent months insisting that the sculptures were looted in the 19th century and should be returned to China, but failed to... More »

China Slams Auction of Looted Relics

Christie's denies request to halt sale of Beijing palace booty

(Newser) - A Christie's auction of two relics looted from Beijing's Summer Palace 150 years ago has infuriated China, the BBC reports. A statement from the country's cultural agency denounced the "illegal" sale and warned of unspecified consequences. The bronze rat and rabbit, seized by invading French and British troops, sold... More »

Oldest Caesar Bust Found in France

Treasure at bottom of river in Arles

(Newser) - The oldest bust of Julius Caesar ever found is among an ancient treasure trove discovered at the bottom of the Rhone river near the southern French town of Arles, which was founded by Caesar in 46 BC. The life-size marble bust depicts Caesar as a balding man with wrinkles, reports... More »

eBay Halts Sale of Iraqi Treasure

Smuggled 4,000-year-old tablet was taken down minutes before auction closed

(Newser) - eBay called off the auction of a 4,000-year-old clay tablet last week just minutes before it closed because an expert suspected the artifact had been smuggled out of Iraq, the Guardian reports. A German archaeologist alerted authorities after spotting the tablet, a business-card-size object covered in distinctive cuneiform script,... More »

18 Stories