Museum director indicted looted antiquities scandal

This news is going to raise some eyebrows. Roxanna Brown, the director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum in Thailand and a noted authority on Southeast Asian ceramics has been indicted in the recent case of looted artefacts from Southeast Asia.

Director of Thailand museum indicted in US probe into smuggled antiquities
The Star, 13 May 2008

Asian antiquities expert arrested
OC Register, 12 May 2008

It’s unclear at this stage the level of involvement in the looting, but it’s been reported that Brown’s electronic signature was used to falsify appraisal documents that inflated the price of artefacts.

The director of a Thailand museum was indicted on a wire fraud charge in connection with a U.S. investigation into looted Southeast Asian antiquities.

Roxanna Brown, a 62-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested late Friday while visiting relatives in Seattle. She was scheduled to speak at the University of Washington on Saturday.

She is the first person to be arrested in an ongoing probe into looted artifacts. Federal agents raided several Southern California museums and a Los Angeles gallery in January, searching for artifacts allegedly taken from Thailand’s Ban Chiang archaeological site, one of the most important prehistoric settlements ever discovered in Southeast Asia.

Related books:
The Ceramics of Southeast Asia : Their Dating and Identification
Ban Chiang
Ban Chiang: Discovery of a lost Bronze Age : an exhibition organized by the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania [and others]

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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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