Undercover operation leads police to long-lost Flemish masterpiece

Turkish police have arrested two textile businessmen who attempted to sell what is thought to be a long-lost work by Flemish master painter Anthony van Dyck.

In an elaborate undercover operation, policemen posed as buyers and negotiated a price of 14 million lira (£3.2 million) for the work, which is believed to have been smuggled from Europe. They agreed to meet with the businessmen, Malkhaz Makharadze and Zahir Huseinov, in a luxury hotel room in Istanbul’s Topkapi neighbourhood. When they arrived to collect the sale proceeds, the men fell directly into the trap that had been laid for them. Continue reading

Replicas of the Palmyra arch to be made for London and New York

It has been a terrible year for the destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East. By September, the United Nations confirmed that militant group Islamic State (Isis) had razed two ancient temples, the Temple of Bel and the Baal Shamin temple, in the Syrian city of Palmyra.

As 2015 draws to a close, the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) has announced exciting plans which offer a glimmer of hope in the wake of the devastation. The IDA is to erect a replica of the entrance to the Temple of Bel, one of the few surviving parts of the 2,000 year old structure, in New York and London in April 2016. Continue reading

Masterworks worth €15m lost in Italian art heist

Conspiracy theories are rife in the wake of what has been described as “one of the most significant art thefts ever to happen in Italy”.

The heist took place on Thursday night (19th November) when three armed and masked men raided the galleries of Verona’s Museo Civico di Castelvecchio, They escaped with 17 paintings with a total value of around €15 million (£10.5 million), 11 of them masterworks. Continue reading

Has a Nazi treasure train been discovered?

Two men have claimed that they have discovered a Nazi-era train packed with gold, diamonds, and other gems in Poland.

The Walbrzych district council received a letter from a law firm in Wroclaw informing them that a Polish and a German man had found the treasure train that has become the stuff of local legend. They say they believe it had departed in 1944 to Walbrzych, but never arrived.  Continue reading