No longer should museums be able to buy antiquities or accept them as a gift while turning a blind eye to the question of where they come from. Nor will it be credible for museums to go through the legal farce practised by the Getty and other US museums in the past of asking the authorities in possible source countries whether they knew that a potential purchase had been illicitly excavated or exported, and then acquiring the item when the answer was in the negative. The museums have been forced to recognise that, by their very nature, illicitly excavated or exported items have a concealed history, so of course the authorities know little or nothing about them.
Speaking of which: Stolen Egyptian artifact removed from NY auction
A 4000-year-old Egyptian alabaster container shaped like a duck and used for a funeral offering has been withdrawn from auction because it may be stolen property, Christie's auction house said on Monday.
The Old Kingdom alabaster offering vessel dating from 2575 to 2134 BC was expected to sell for $20,000 to $30,000 before it was withdrawn from the sale, according to the Christie's online catalog for its June 16 sale of antiquities in New York.