Getty to return illegally excavated bronze head to Turkey

The Getty Museum is set to return an ancient bronze head to Turkey after it discovered that the artefact was excavated illegally

Getty to return illegally excavated bronze head to Turkey

Getty to return illegally excavated bronze head to TurkeyThe ancient bronze will be returned to Turkey   Credit: Getty

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has removed a life-sized bronze head from display after the institution learned it was illegally excavated.

Associated by some scholars with the archaeological site of Bubon, in the Burdur province of southwestern Türkiye, the head comes from a location where illicit excavations in the late 1960s brought to light several ancient bronzes that were subsequently sold abroad.

Set to be returned to Turkey, the head has been in the museum’s collection since it was acquired in 1971. After receiving information that the head had been taken illegally, the museum immediately took action.

“In light of new information recently provided by Matthew Bogdanos and the Antiquities Trafficking Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicating the illegal excavation of this bronze head, we agreed that the object needed to be returned to Türkiye,” said museum director Timothy Potts.

“We seek to continue building a constructive relationship with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and with our archaeological, conservation, curatorial, and other scholarly colleagues working in Türkiye, with whom we share a mission to advance the preservation of ancient cultural heritage.”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s antiquities trafficking unit has recovered more than 4,500 antiquities stolen from 30 countries since it was launched in 2017. The recovered antiquities have a value totalling in excess of more than US$410m (€382m, £328m).

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