British Museum launches sophisticated database to spot looted Egyptian artefacts 5 Feb 2019

The British Museum has launched a major new project to track and identify looted artefacts from Egypt and Sudan, backed by £1m from the UK Government’s Cultural Protection Fund. Bringing together a sophisticated database with curatorial expertise and detective work, the Circulating Artefacts project will track items at auction in galleries or selling websites that raise suspicions. Marcel Marée, a curator in the BM’s Egypt and Sudan department told Art net we have become alarmed at widespread practices in the art market. The more you pay attention, the more you notice patterns of laxity, misconduct or obfuscation.” He says there may be tens of thousands of looted objects with faked provenance, and that unrest in Egypt has led to looting which ‘turns sites into lunar landscapes’. The project will initially examine around 80,000 objects sold since 1970 but eventually hopes to reach back to the dawn of Egyptology in the early 19th century. Artnet