08/08/2022

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Tigray conflict: surge in ancient Ethiopian relics for sale

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Centuries-old manuscripts and scrolls are being offered on websites for few hundred dollars raising suspicion on the conditions of their acquisition.

In Ethiopia, the latest victims of the year-long war in Tigray are the country’s rich artefacts.

Centuries-old manuscripts and scrolls are being offered on websites for few hundred dollars raising suspicion on the conditions of their acquisition. Experts suspect they have have been plundered during the conflict.

Ethiopian philologist Dr Hagos Abrha Abay even published a first comprehensive analysis of the looting revealing churches, monasteries and other significant sites were targeted during the war .

The trafficking of Ethipian cultural goods existed but since the war between the TPLF and federal authorities started, A surge in ancient artifacts for sale was observed.

American corporation eBay removed from its platform a number of rare Ethiopian items with no evidence of provenance after it was contacted by newspaper Times.

It is unclear how many objects were stolen but professors have recommended internet users to upload the information to the INTERPOL Stolen Works of Art Database, if they come across Ethiopian objects adverts.

Negotiations on a cease-fire between Ethiopia’s government and Tigray forces have yet to take place.