Monday, April 30, 2012

Call for Papers: 'Art in the Round': New Approaches to Ancient Coin Iconography

International Workshop
University of Tübingen, Institut für Klassische Archäologie, 15–16 November 2012.

Organizers: Dr. Stefan Krmnicek, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and Dr. Nathan T. Elkins, Baylor University

Call for Papers:

Our understanding of Graeco‐Roman coinage is inextricably linked to the study of the images on those coins and the messages that they conveyed. Designs on coins provide insights into the nature of ancient visual culture and the societies in which such images were deployed and consumed. Recent iconographic studies have acknowledged that images on coins must be studied in concert with texts and the material context of their bearers, requiring a new set of interpretative methodologies and research agendas.

New research has demonstrated that by treating coin images in the Greek and Roman worlds as a part of a semantic system and by considering the archaeological evidence, we gain a better understanding of the importance, meanings, and functions of images on coins. As certain images appear to have been more or less relevant to differing segments of society in different periods and across various parts of the Mediterranean world, iconographic studies are also a unique source of insight into political communication, and the socio‐cultural identities of common people, individuals who otherwise left little or no trace in the archaeological record.

Due to the existence of varied research traditions, the international workshop ‘Art in the Round’: New Approaches to Ancient Coin Iconography aims to explore new directions in the study of iconography on Graeco‐Roman coinage by gathering scholars from different academic perspectives. Numismatists, Classicists, Historians, Archaeologists and Art Historians are invited to present their research in order to contribute to this timely topic. Papers that explore methodology or specific topics or themes are welcome.

Abstracts of no longer than 300 words should be sent by email to
Stefan.Krmnicek(at)uni‐ and Nathan_Elkins(at)

Deadline for submission is 30 June 2012. Papers in English and German are welcome.

Conference website:

Visit the conference website to download a printable copy of the Call for Papers.  Colleagues are encouraged to circulate the Call for Papers among faculty, scholars, researchers, and graduate students who may wish to contribute to the workshop.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Antiquities and Ancient Coin Dealer Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Egyptian Artifacts

The Eastern District of New York of the U.S. Attorney's Office has announced that ancient coin and antiquities dealer Mousa Khouli has plead guilty to the smuggling of Egyptian cultural property.

Mousa Khouli, also known as “Morris Khouli,” pleaded guilty today to smuggling Egyptian cultural property into the United States and making a false statement to law enforcement authorities. The defendant entered his plea before the Honorable Edward R. Korman, United States District Judge, at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. The defendant also entered into a stipulation of settlement resolving a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the Egyptian antiquities, Iraqi artifacts, cash and other pieces of cultural property seized in connection with the government’s investigation.

The guilty plea and settlement were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.

According to court documents, Khouli was an antiquities dealer who arranged for the purchase and smuggling of a series of Egyptian antiquities between October 2008 and November 2009, specifically a Greco-Roman style Egyptian coffin, a three-part nesting coffin set, a set of Egyptian funerary boats, and Egyptian limestone figures. These antiquities were exported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and smuggled into the United States using a variety of illegal methods intended to avoid detection and scrutiny by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“Customs”), including making false declarations to Customs concerning the country of origin and value of the antiquities, and providing misleading descriptions of the contents on shipping labels and customs paperwork, such as “antiques,” “wood panels” and “wooden painted box.” Khouli covered up the smuggling by making false statements to law enforcement authorities.

Most of the smuggled antiquities were recovered by law enforcement at the time the indictment was unsealed on July 14, 2011. The innermost coffin of the nesting set was seized during a search of Khouli’s residence in September 2009. The middle coffin and most of the outer coffin lid were seized in November 2009, after they arrived via sea cargo at the Port of Newark, New Jersey. The Greco-Roman sarcophagus, funerary boats, and limestone figures were seized during a search of co-defendant Joseph A. Lewis II’s residence in July 2011.

The missing pieces of the coffin lid were forfeited to the government in court today. They consist of four wooden bird-like figures that attach to the four corners of the coffin lid, and four wooden panels that comprise the rectangular bottom of the coffin lid. Hieroglyphics on the coffin indicate that the name of the deceased was “Shesepamuntayesher” and that she bore the title “Lady of the House.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karin Orenstein and Claire Kedeshian.

The Defendant:
MOUSA KHOULI, also known as “Morris Khouli”
Age: 38

(via U.S. Department of Justice)

Khouli and one of the co-defendants in the case were active members of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) at the time of the their arrests and at the time they allegedly committed their crimes.  The ACCG is a lobby group that attempts to stifle legislation meant to curb the looting and smuggling of cultural property when the free trade in ancient coins may be affected; the group is largely run and financially supported by ancient coin and antiquities dealerships.

Litigation continues against the co-defendants, who are considered innocent until proven guilty.  Rick St. Hilaire, an expert in cultural property law, has been closely following and reporting on the case.