The British Museum theft highlighted by other theft | After the disappearance of the historical works, the English deputies criticized the imperial position of the United Kingdom

The saying goes: A thief who robs another thief has a hundred years of forgiveness. Although this regulation is now outdated, it at least allowed the UK to have a say On the imperial position of England with regard to the acquisition – most often by force – of historical works created and exhibited in other countries. For example, the Greek Parthenon marbles now in the British Museum.

Everything exploded, of course, with A major scandal involving ant theft has plagued the British Museum for years. “What makes it even more terrible is that they were very lenient about stealing other people’s things And they didn’t even bother to evaluate what they had “To find out exactly what was stolen,” said Bill Ribeiro Addy, an MP in the British Parliament. The MP, from Streatham slum, pointed to British regulations – since 1963 – that prevented the return of things like the Parthenon marbles and Benin bronzes.

“One of the most insulting reasons they gave is that other countries these items are from will not be able to take care of them or they will likely be stolen,” said Ribeiro Adi. “But there are people in this country who put it on eBay,” he joked.

Meanwhile, Professor Dan Hicks (who studies looting by British soldiers in the late 19th century) told the Guardian: The alleged thefts should change the “imperialist” position of the British Museum as the custodian of world heritage.

“This model has to be understood as something about a lack of transparency,” Hicks said, arguing that the British Museum and some other national museums in the UK still clung to the imperial nostalgia of having “some God-given right to cling to these things.” things and don’t count them.”

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prime suspect

Among the missing items were blue garnet jewelry, a gemstone engraved with a Roman head, a blue diamond ring, and a Mughal pyramidal emerald ring. The total number of stolen shards will exceed 1,500.

These pieces are valued at tens of millions of pounds sterling Some have appeared in ebay to be sold. while others remain reported as “lost, stolen or damaged”.

Healer Peter Higgs, archaeologist, 56 years oldwho worked for three decades as an expert in the Museum’s Ancient Greece area He is designated as the prime suspect. Although he denied any wrongdoing, the Metropolitan Police opened an investigation and began collecting testimonies to explain the “ant theft”. Meanwhile, after the scandal, the former director of the Hartwig Fischer Museum submitted his irrefutable resignation.

How was the theft discovered?

It was Itay Gradel, a Danish antiques dealer, who uncovered the theftsWhich plunged the museum into an unprecedented crisis. Gradel left Denmark as a teenager and moved to London, where he worked as a pipe fitter and washed dishes in a restaurant. During his stay he met and fell in love with the British Museum so much that he It inspired his academic studies and subsequent career as an antiquarian.

On his days off, he would spend his time at the museum “gobbling up” every exhibit, instilling in himself a love for the institution that inspired him to become an archaeologist and later an antiquities dealer. through his activity, He started buying collectibles in ebay, until Find out what caught his attentionSome of the pieces shown online correspond to the catalog of the British Museum.

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He bought some of those pieces and called the museum to inform him of what happened, but (and to his surprise) And they didn’t care about their findingsClaiming that his accusations are “totally unfounded” and that “the group is protected”.

After a year of insistence and conviction that the pieces that appeared for sale on the auction site are from the museum, Gradel wrote to George Osborne, the foundation’s chairman, who promised to investigate.. but, Since he had not received any further news, he reported the incident to the police and the press.

As the antiques dealer has commented in his recent remarks, Deputy Principal Jonathan Williams replied in July 2021 that “there is no indication of impropriety”. Even curator Peter Higgs, whom Gradel had identified as the seller, was promoted.

“Concerns have only been raised about a few items. Our investigation concluded that all of these items were accounted for,” the outgoing manager tried to apologise.

Later, when the scandal increased, Fisher admitted Gradel’s comments were “misjudged” and took responsibility for the museum’s failure to respond appropriately to the warnings in 2021. About the alleged theft of things.

Underground treasures

The British Museum says most of its items are registered and that five million of the eight million artifacts are available for viewing in a public database. but, Less than 1 percent of your collection is on public display Thus it is not carefully controlled.

Beneath the polished glass chests of the British Museum’s western galleries, and beneath the Parthenon marbles recovered by Greece, lie the treasures of the few lucky enough to be found and seen only by museum curators or museum staff.

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the Hidden basement gallerieswhich has been quietly closed from public view for nearly two decades, It houses ancient Greek and Roman statues and other antiquities.

Within the walls of these underground chambers are also items from the Townley Collection, which are believed to have been the target of the alleged thief, who looted precious jewels and gems for over 20 years.

The Curators and Collection Care Assistants are part of an outstanding club, That you have permission to access special exhibitions as well as other major stores throughout the British Museum property.

They are allowed to visit areas without company, using electronic passes or physical keys for entry.

For now, the prime suspect is Higgswho worked for three decades as an expert in the museum’s Ancient Greece area until he was fired last week. On Thursday, London police said a man had been questioned No one has been arrested yet.

Sacha Woodward

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