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Theft of Ancient Artifacts
Posted In: Other Exciting News  3/12/11
By: Yona Williams

Ancient artifacts are fascinating objects that not unlock clues to the past, but are also quite valuable on the open market. Archeologists come in contact with many different specimens and are trusted to preserve and catalogue. However, earlier this month, a professor has admitted to giving in to the temptation of stealing artifacts from New Mexico. In this article, you will learn about the objects in question and what may happen as a result.

An archeology professor from Loyola University said that he made a 'mistake' when he stole 17 artifacts from historical site in New Mexico. According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Albuquerque, Daniel Amick pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Archeological Resources Protection Act, which took place when he removed archeological resources from federal public lands in New Mexico.

Amick took the artifacts without a permit in June of 2007. Some of the objects that he took were "Folsom and Clovis points," which are projectile points similar to arrowheads. The points represent materials of past human life or activities that are at least 100 years old. The market value of such objects is typically less than $500.

The 66-year-old Amick was ordered in early March to serve one year of conditional probation. This sentence will not be supervised. Amick took part in a plea agreement, which named two others. Court documents reveal that he stated that he, Scott Clendenin and Donald Musser, took a field trip to public lands in New Mexico. During their travels, they removed about 12 archeological artifacts. On a return trip, they took five additional items.

According to his defense lawyer, Amick agreed to cooperate with authorities if Clendenin and Musser were charged as well or if they went to trial. His lawyer presented evidence that Amick did not take the artifacts for commercial reasons or to make a profit, but for research purposes. Amick said that it was a mistake and that he regrets it ever happened.

At the Archeology Department at Loyola University Chicago, Amick is an associate professor and chairman of the department. Students that have studied under the professor state that he teaches the appropriate curriculum and stresses ethics in his Archeology 101 course.

This is not the first time that an archeologist has been accused of stealing artifacts. Another case involving stolen artifacts involves the statue of Livia (wife of the Roman Emperor Augustus), which had been stolen from Albania and later returned. However, a similar head had been found in the stolen-art market and brought back to its mother country a well. The Albanian head was in excellent condition with the exception of a broken nose. It was located about 70 years ago when excavations took place in the theatre of Butrint, which is on the southern coast opposite Corfu.

The head was taken from the Butrint museum in 1991 when the last Communist dictator of Albania lost his power. The statue was smuggled to Greece and then made its way to Switzerland, where a New York art dealer bought it. When it put the statue up for sale in 1995, American scholars recognized it as a stolen object. The art dealer agreed to return the work of art, where it was flown back to Tirana, where it resided in the Institute of Archaeology's museum until the Butrint museum was deemed secure enough to receive the statue once more. The museum had undergone a renovation and expansion in 2005.


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