Calypso. Extra Hungariam archaeological objects
For about one and a half decade, the Museum of Fine Arts has made serious efforts in order to settle the status of archaeological items turned up outside the territory of Hungary. These items either derive from clandestine excavations or their ownership was transferred under illicit circumstances and thus intercepted in the course of illegal commerce. As a result, the Department of Classical Antiquities - by means of a call for tender published by the National Crime Prevention Board (Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement) - has set up in 2006 the database called "Calypso". This database contains all the antiquities of foreign origin, which have been seized at the Hungarian border and which have been consigned by the authorities to the custody of the Museum of Fine Arts (the database is in Hungarian language and is accessible only with a password).
On the basis of the pertinent international conventions (Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970 Paris; UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, 1995 Rome) and European Union law (Council Directive 93/7/EEC of 15 March 1993 on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State) the aim of this project is obvious. Our goal is to reintegrate these items, that have been deprived from their original archaeological context, into the circulation of science in order to study them, focusing always on the ultimate goal of their restitution to the countries of origin, from where they were illegally removed.
Budapest, 20 July, 2009
Deputy Director responsible for restitution affairs
Árpád M. Nagy
Collection of Classical Antiquities