UC Berkeley Art Museum's stolen Ban Chiang artefacts

After four museums were investigated for holding looted artefacts – among them artefacts from Ban Chiang, Thailand – the UC Berkeley’s Art Museum is now being investigated for being offered the artefacts.

Ban Chiang Ware, CC by drdrewhonolulu
Ban Chiang Ware, creative commons image by drdrewhonolulu

Museum May House Illegally Taken Works
The Daily Californian, 28 January 2008

The report also gives specific about the alleged perpetrators to the antiquities smuggling case.

After searching four Southern California museums for evidence against a smuggling and tax evasion ring last Thursday, federal officials contacted the Berkeley museum, which may have artifacts allegedly stolen by Robert Olson, according to signed affidavits. Olson had been smuggling items out of Thailand and Burma since about 1980, according to the affidavits.

Read the full story here.

Find out about Ban Chiang here:
Ban Chiang, a Prehistoric Village Site in Northeast Thailand: The Human Skeletal Remains (Thai Archaeology Monograph Series, 1) by M. Pietrusewsky and M. T. Douglas
The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham
Ban Chiang: Art and prehistory of Northeast Thailand by A. J. Labbei
Ban Chiang: Discovery of a Lost Bronze Age by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania by J. C. White
Cognition and design production in Ban Chiang painted pottery by P. Van Esterik
Thai ceramics: Ban Chiang, Khmer, Sukothai, Sawankhalok by the Art Galery of South Australia
Ban Chiang prehistoric cultures by Y. Chin

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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