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Roman coins discovered in ruins of castle in Okinawa

Plus: Arrests in Greece over alleged antiquities smuggling | Local authority posits total funding cut to Lyon’s Musée des Confluences | ICA Miami closes due to Hurricane Matthew | and Tate acquires works at Frieze with WME | IMG Fund

6 October 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Roman coins unearthed in Okinawa | Coins thought to have been issued in 4th-century Rome have been unearthed amongst the ruins of Katsuren Castle, a ruined medieval fortress on the Japanese island of Okinawa, reports the Japan Times. The local board of education believes the discovery of the four coins could be ‘precious historical material suggesting a link between Okinawa and the Western world’. Archaeologist Hiroki Miyagi, who worked on the dig, is unconvinced however, telling the New York Times that there was no evidence the coins suggested any trade between Okinawa’s Ryukyu Kingdom and Europe. A more likely theory of the coins’ provenance, he suggests, is that they arrived on the island from China via Central Asia.

Arrests in Greece over alleged antiquities smuggling | Greek police have arrested 26 individuals they believe may be involved in an antiquities smuggling organisation, reports The Art Newspaper. The suspects are thought to belong to a criminal ring that has been smuggling looted antiquities to western European auction houses and private buyers for around a decade, using fake provenance documents that link them to private collections.

Local authority posits total funding cut to Lyon’s Musée des Confluences | The Département du Rhône has suggested that it is to withdraw funding for Lyon’s musée des Confluences, reports Le Progrès (French language article.) The Départment, which was instrumental in founding the museum, has justified its intention to cut funding on the grounds that it needs to make significant savings and redirect money to other parts of the region. At present, the authority contributes around €1.2 million to the museum’s annual budget, or 10 per cent of the total operating cost. The museum, which is devoted to science and anthropology, has proved immensely popular in terms of visitor numbers: in reference to the planned cuts, Le Monde describes it as a ‘victim of its own success.’ (French language article.)

ICA Miami closes due to Hurricane Matthew | Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art has announced a temporary closure due to fears that Hurricane Matthew may hit the Florida coast, reports Artforum. The storm has already hit islands in the Caribbean, resulting in several deaths. ‘I cannot emphasise enough that everyone in our state must prepare now for a direct hit’, said Florida governor Rick Scott. The venue has pencilled in a provisional reopening time on Friday.

Tate acquires works at Frieze with WME | IMG Fund | The Tate group has announced the acquisition of 10 works by international artists at Frieze London with £150,000 that was made available by a fund sponsored by entertainment agency WME | IMG. The museum bought six works by Turkish artist Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, three by Portuguese sculptor Leonor Antunes and one by London based artist Phillip Lai.

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