Monday, May 29, 2006

Turkish Museum switcheroo theft

The Independent is reporting “The director [Kazim Akbiyikoglu] of a state museum in Turkey has been arrested after police discovered that.... a gold brooch depicting a winged sea monster and a coin” have been stolen and replaced with fakes.

The article went on to say “The pieces were part of a 363-piece collection which became known as the ‘Lydian Hoard’... The Metropolitan Museum in New York bought the pieces... and was forced to return them in 1993.”

Google revealed that Akbiyikoglu is director of the U┼čak (or Usak) Archaeological Museum, and that the Turkish name for the Lydian Hoard is the Treasures of Karun. An about-turkey.com web page describes the hoard but doesn't mention any coins being in it. The hoard and the museum are described in a 2003 article which does picture a coin (perhaps the one that was stolen?)


The smuggling and the return of the Karun Treasure merit that its exhibit be showcased to fill a whole museum. But the Usak Archaeology Museum is not equipped to display it, let alone to showcase the dimensions of its history. It is a small museum. Ancient stone artifacts are stacked on each other in the garden, because no storage place is left on the lower floor. Furthermore, all the historic carpets of Usak were placed in the museum by the local mufti when some carpets were stolen from the mosques of Usak. There is no room in the museum. During negotiations, the Americans made an offer. They said, “Leave 30 percent of the artifacts to us and we will build a museum for you.” This offer reflects a bitter reality.


Does anyone know which coin types were in the Lydian Hoard AKA Treasures of Karun? Were coins included in the 55 objects published in the Metropolitan Museum Bulletin (Summer 1984 issue)?

1 comment:

dzus said...
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