Zoe Kontes

Looted Episode 2: Figure Drawing

Looted 2017

New Books in ArchaeologyNew Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network November 24, 2017 Zoe Kontes

This is the second in a series of podcasts from Zoe Kontes’ terrific “Looted.” Marble figurines made ca. 5,000 years ago in the Cycladic...

This is the second in a series of podcasts from Zoe Kontes’ terrific “Looted.”

Marble figurines made ca. 5,000 years ago in the Cycladic Islands of the Aegean became all the rage for collectors, and a great influence in Modernist Art. Easily looted and almost as easily faked, these objects have a unique role in the modern world. The question is, what was their role in the ancient world? More to see, read and hear:

Gill, D. W. J., and C. Chippindale. “Material and intellectual consequences of esteem for Cycladic figures.” American Journal of Archaeology 97 (1993): 601-59.

Chippindale, C., and D. W. J. Gill. “Cycladic figurines: art versus archaeology?” In Antiquities: trade or betrayed. Legal, ethical and conservation issues, edited by K. W. Tubb (1993): 131-42.

Review: A Seductive and Troubling Work. Reviewed Work:The Cycladic Spirit: Masterpieces from the Nicholas P. Goulandris Collectionby Colin Renfrew, Christos Doumas. Review by: Ricardo J. Elia,Archaeology. Vol. 46, No. 1 (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1993), pp. 64, 66-69 http://www.jstor.org/stable/41766251

Renfrew, C. “Keros: Rethinking the Cycladic Early Bronze Age,” Penn Museum lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epwk71maFRc


On Looted: The Podcast, we uncover the hidden stories of ancient artifacts and their journeys in the illicit antiquities trade. I’m Zoe Kontes, and I’m an archaeologist. When we archaeologists dig, we carefully record what we find so we can make the best sense of the evidence. But go to any museum, auction house, or dealer with an antiquities collection—Ebay even—and you’ll be sure to find objects that have been removed from the ground without this kind of proper excavation. Looting destroys the context of artifacts, and while they may look beautiful in a display case, we lose any information about their significance or function in the culture that made them. This is a loss of our common human history, and it affects us all.

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