16 June 2006

Are the artifacts exhibited in the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology imitations?

An article in today's edition of the Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet reports that an anonymous e-mail claims that the Texas-based Institute of Nautical Archaeology has been smuggling most of the artifacts they have been excavating in Turkey out of the country while exhibiting in the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology their imitations. The e-mail, supposedly by a museum employee, was sent to the local government authorities who are reported to have started an investigation.

According to the newspaper, the e-mail also claims that several people, including a low-ranking Gendarmerie (military police) official, who knew what was going on and attempted to interfere had been "punished" by being appointed to jobs elsewhere in Turkey.

My initial reaction to this news is that it is a fake allegation by a disgruntled employee. I am hoping there will be follow-up stories to clarify the situation. Curiously, however, the subject news item, which was displayed on the main page of Hürriyet earlier today, has since disappeared from the page, although the link to it is still good.

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