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Illicitly traded cuneiform tablet seized by the US Department of Homeland Security HSI. Source: US Homeland Security Investigations/Antiquity Publications Ltd

Illicit Artifact Trading Falls From Top Three Dark Economies

For at least half a century it has been believed, and repeated, that the buying and selling of illegal artifacts was in the top three most illicit trades in the modern world. However, new research...
Ai Weiwei’s exhibition of animal bronze heads, entitled the Circle of Animals, are replicas of the famous looted zodiac heads and part of a contemporary commentary on the Communist Party and its nationalistic discourse. Source: Public domain

A Rabbit and a Rat Sparked a Serious China-France Showdown

In a bizarre twist of fate, a rabbit and a rat became the center of an international dispute between China and France in 2009. For these animals were part of a famed collection of Chinese bronze...
Conceptual image of a large stone in the shape of a human brain.     Source: Orlando Florin Rosu / Adobe Stock

Searching for Genius: Einstein’s Stolen Brain

When you think of intelligent people, Albert Einstein may be the first name to come to mind. Known as one of history’s greatest geniuses, he fascinated the world with his many contributions to...
This Italian copy of the Nostradamus manuscript was stolen in the mid-2000s from a library in Rome, but a member of the Italian military’s Cultural Heritage Conservation Command (Carabinieri) spotted it online in a German auction and “saved” it.		Source: Carabinieri

Stolen Nostradamus Manuscript Returned to Library in Rome!

A pilfered copy of the Nostradamus manuscript written by Renaissance-era French physician, astrologer and psychic Michel de Nostredame, has been recovered and returned to the library from which it...
Authorities seized stolen artifacts, including three magic incantation bowls. Source: Yoli Schwartz / Israel Antiquities Authority

1500-Year-Old Magic Bowls Inscribed with Spells Seized in Jerusalem Raid

During a raid on a private home in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) seized a large cache of stolen or illegally excavated archaeological...
British Metal Detectorist Reunites Stolen Ancient Treasure with Owner

British Metal Detectorist Reunites Stolen Ancient Treasure with Owner

A couple weeks ago Mr. Charles Cartwright, an amateur British metal detectorist, took his machine out for an inaugural search in a field in Doddenham, Worcestershire, England. He’d been out for about...
Portrait of Hernán Cortés. A stolen letter to Cortés has been tracked to a New York auction house.

Scholarly Sleuths Scuttle Shady Sale of Letter Sent to Hernán Cortés

In September 2020, a trio of scholars based in Mexico and Spain managed to stop the sale of a valuable historical document that had been stolen from the National Archives of Mexico (AGN), Mexico News...
The Curse of the Mijikenda Vigango Statues

The Curse of the Mijikenda Vigango Statues

During the 1980s, Coastal Kenya experienced the largest heist of ancestral artifacts in history. Over 300 wooden Vigango statues were taken from the sacred grounds of several Mijikenda tribes. These...
Baroque library hall in the National Library of the Czech Republic in Prague. A collection of 13,000 occult and witchcraft books that were once part of Himmler’s “witch library” were found in the library.

Was Heinrich Himmler’s 'Nazi Witch Library' Discovered in a Czech Library?

In 2016, along with a vast array of international publications, the Daily Mail picked up a story that had been published by a Norwegian-based paper prior to a conference about the confiscation of...
Lockdown Looting: Massive Hoard of Stolen Serbian Artifacts Seized

Lockdown Looting: Massive Hoard of Stolen Serbian Artifacts Seized

Described as a discovery of “great historical and archaeological value,” Serbian customs officials have seized a hoard of over 2,000 ancient artifacts. According to Archaeology News Network , on the...
Stolen Roman Marble Fragment Returned by Regretful Thief

Stolen Roman Marble Fragment Returned by Regretful Thief

Tourists from all over the world visit the Italian capital to see its remarkable Roman remains, such as the Colosseum. However, one tourist was so impressed with the ruins that she stole an ancient...
Stolen Serbian Roman artifact composite photo showing both sides of the stone, the sandal-covered feet, and the Roman inscription.  Source: National Museum in Belgrade

Serbian Roman Artifact Vanished 24 Hours After Discovery

In 2020, a recently excavated ancient Serbian Roman artifact, a stone slab covered with engraved Latin text, was stolen only 24 hours after it was discovered. The rare Roman artifact was discovered...
Mummified feet. Credit: Andrea Izzotti / Adobe Stock

Mummified Body Parts Among Artifacts Now Banned on Facebook

Following a 2019 BBC News exposé and an academic campaign, the social media giant Facebook has now banned all sales of ancient artifacts on the social network, fearing stolen and looted treasures...
Various Roman catapult (ballista) rocks found along the Pilgrim's Road in the City of David, Jerusalem.           Source: Clara Amit / IAA

Man Fearing Coronavirus Apocalypse Returns Stolen Ballista

The COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak has shaken many around the world. In Israel, a man with a guilty conscience, who fears the virus could result in the end of the world, gave back a Roman catapult...
A new scientific investigation on the 16 purported Dead Sea Scroll fragments at the Museum of the Bible has confirmed that all are modern forgeries. Source: Photograph by Rebecca Hale, NGM staff

ALL Dead Sea Scrolls in Washington Bible Museum are Fakes

Washington DC’s Museum of the Bible was opened in 2017 and has since charged its victims customers $24.99 to see an exhibition of fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll s and a collection of biblical era...
Bluestone like those used to build Stonehenge were reportedly stolen from Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire

Stonehenge Bluestone Stolen for Garden Ornamentation

An ancient bluestone of the type used to build England’s world-famous stone circle Stonehenge was stolen from Preseli Hills in Wales, bundled into a car, and taken 10 miles away to be used as garden...
A cuneiform tablets (representative image) Source: dimamoroz / Adobe Stock

Controversial Cuneiform Tablets Tell Tales of Security Dogs and a Lost City

An archaeologist has admitted that around 1,400 cuneiform tablets might have been stolen from Irisagrig, a 4,000-year-old lost Sumerian city in modern day Iraq. While the robbers obviously know the...
Lost treasures. Source: dbrus / Adobe Stock.

10 Spectacular Treasures That Have Never Been Found

Nothing is ever so thrilling as the stories of lost treasures and the hidden riches of the world that are on the borders of the legendary. Sunken galleons, plundered gold, and thrilling museum heists...
Main: Blenheim Palace (Snowshill / Adobe Stock). Inset: The Gold Toilet (CC by SA 2.0)

Solid Gold Toilet Stolen from Blenheim Palace

A remarkable and slightly bizarre theft has been announced in Britain. An 18-carat gold toilet valued at £1 million has been stolen from the world-famous Blenheim Palace. The lavatory was part of a...
The brown quartzite King Tut statue for auction. Source: Christie's.

3,000-Year-Old Egyptian God Whips Up A Sand Storm Of Legal Battles

On July 4th, Christie’s auction house in London will sell a rare 3,000 years old, , statue of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun’s head, portrayed as the god Amun , which according to Christie’s listing “...
The smuggled mummy parts were found stuffed in a speaker.

Chopped Up Egyptian Mummy Body Parts Found Stuffed in a Speaker En Route to Belgium

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has announced that they have stopped the attempted smuggling of mummified body parts from a Belgium-bound passenger. The unnamed passenger boldly stuffed parts from...
Representational image – does not depict artifacts recovered in Operation Demetra. Coins stolen by the Nazis, Jewish Museum of Greece (Athens)

Illegal Artifact Smuggling and Forgery Ring Smashed in Europe-Wide Police Swoop

After a hunt lasting several decades, a team of almost 250 top European criminal investigators and highly-trained police officers have busted a 24-man strong, ring of international illegal artifact...
Curare darts and quiver.

Ancient Amazonian Poison Vanishes Unsettling Dutch Police

Dutch police in the town of Leiden are on a manhunt for archaeological thieves who audaciously broke into an outbuilding of the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave. Looking for cash they raided the museum safe and...
A cuneiform tablet seized from Hobby Lobby. This tablet contains economic/administrative information.

450 Stolen Sumerian Tablets are on Their Way Back to Iraq, but it is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

450 Stolen Sumerian tablets are being repatriated to Iraq with a ceremony in Washington D.C. on May 2. Many of the cuneiform texts come from a mysterious city called Irisagrig – a land from which...

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