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19 June 2021

Marcel Marée  'Circulating Artefacts: An online platform against the looting and sale of illicit antiquities.'  

The British Museum, supported by the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund, has launched a key initiative against the looting and trafficking of illicit antiquities. A dedicated team of experts runs an online platform where heritage professionals, public and private collectors, art dealers, law enforcement agencies and anyone else can have antiquities appraised for possible signs of illicit provenance. This service, offered free of charge, is enabling the detection and recovery of countless looted artefacts that would otherwise go unnoticed. The platform rests on a restricted, ever-growing database of objects that are, or have been, in circulation. All reported and spotted artefacts are vetted on information provided and on evidence contained in the objects themselves. The current focus is on cultural property from Egypt and Sudan, but our vision is to extend the system to other regions, pending the necessary funding. 

The project avails of widespread engagement from police and legal experts, fellow academics, heritage professionals and a growing number of actors in the antiquities trade itself. We support and train heritage staff in the countries of origin, helping them monitor the art market and to identify the archaeological sites most at risk. We have now identified more than 5,500antiquities of demonstrable illicit origins. Many have been stopped from sale and/or repatriated, and the more serious cases have prompted police investigations. We anticipate that colleagues, collectors, the trade, police and members of the general public will increasingly make use of our vetting service, thus contributing to a cleaner and more accountable art market. Everyone can help by supplying images and information on artefacts. Enquiries about the project, or any offers of support, are welcomed at 



Marcel Marée is Assistant Keeper at the Department of Egypt & Sudan in the British Museum. He initiated and leads Circulating Artefacts, a project counteracting the trade in illicit antiquities. He specialises in ancient Egypt's material culture and social history, with a strong interest in identifying the oeuvres of workshops and individual artists. He has done epigraphic fieldwork at archaeological sites in Egypt and Sudan, focusing on sites from the second millennium BC.   


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Saturday 18 June 2022

Andrew Shortland: 'Ancient Egyptian Glass And Glazes.'

This talk considers some of the most important and interesting of the materials produced by ancient Egyptian craftsmen - glass, faience and other glazed materials. It discusses what is known about their raw materials and technological production, how they were used and what they symbolised. It draws on wide-ranging sources of evidence from texts, through archaeological and historical sources, to the latest scientific analytical techniques. It focusses on the importance of the colour blue, the links between blue glass/glaze and blue stones and the significance of both in Egyptian magic and symbolism.  

Andrew Shortland is Professor of Archaeological Science and (since 2016) Director of Cranfield Forensic Institute of Cranfield University. After reading a BA in geology at the University of Oxford, he spent a year working the Oxford Earth Sciences Department helping provenance copper and bronze objects from the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean. He continued at Oxford to read for a masters' degree in Prehistoric Archaeology before working in the Civil Service. Andrew returned to Oxford to research Egyptology, receiving a DPhil for work on vitreous materials from Amarna in Middle Egypt. After time as a Research Fellow and the University Research Lecturer at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology in Oxford, he moved to Cranfield University in 2005.

Biography adapted from information on the website of Cranfield University