British Museum appeals for assistance in recovering stolen artefacts
The stolen items include gold rings, ear-rings and other pieces of jewellery dating back to ancient Greek and Roman periods
A general view of the exterior of the British Museum on August 23, 2023 in London, England. British Museum officials launched an investigation into the theft of its artefacts after discovering that stolen items, comprising of gold jewellery, semi-precious stones and glass valued at up to £50,000, were being sold on eBay for as little as £40. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The British Museum initiated a public hotline on Tuesday (26), seeking assistance in locating approximately 2,000 missing artefacts, primarily comprising ancient Greek and Roman gems and jewellery, it disclosed.
The museum said last month it had sacked a staff member over stolen, missing, or damaged items in a crisis that highlighted internal failings and led to its director quitting days later.
Home to treasures such as the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon marbles, the British Museum houses one of the world’s most visited collections and has since tightened its security.
Sixty items had now been returned, with a further 300 identified and due to be handed back imminently, the museum said in a statement.
“If you are concerned that you may be, or have been, in possession of items from the British Museum, or if you have any other information that may help us, please contact us,” said a page on its website advertising a dedicated email address.
The page said it was only disclosing the types of artefacts stolen and heeding expert advice not to share full details.
It said the stolen items included gold rings, ear-rings and other pieces of jewellery dating back to ancient Greek and Roman periods as well as small objects such as gems that were often set in rings.
The museum, which is facing demands from several governments for the repatriation of historical treasures to their home countries, said it was working with London’s police, “actively monitoring” the art market, and had registered the missing items on the Art Loss Register database.
The museum is also consulting an international panel of experts.