University of Pennsylvania Returns Looted Trojan Antiquities to Turkey

Posted on September 13, 2012


The University of Pennsylvania recently announced that it has lent 24 items of Trojan-style gold jewelry to Turkey for an indefinite period.

The announcement came on the heels of scientific research that suggested the jewelry was looted from northwestern Turkey. In return for the “loan,” the Turkish government has pledged to lend other artifacts to Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and to support the ongoing excavations of Penn scholars within Turkish boarders.

Ernst Pernicka, the scientist whose research prompted the transfer, has criticized the move. Pernicka noted that his research did not conclusively prove that the jewelry was from Turkey, only that it was “consistent with” a Turkish origin. Pernicka believes that the move will only lead to similar claims. Said Pernicka, “the whole thing will only create problems for other American museums.”

Director of Penn museum Julian Siggers disagrees. Siggers believes that the agreement is appropriate considering the inconclusive nature of the report, noting that, “it’s highly likely but not conclusive,” “that’s why it goes as an indefinite loan as opposed to being given back . . . they’re delighted to have this back, but I think everybody wins here.”

Posted in: Development, Museums