British Museum to return looted medieval artifacts to Ukraine after exhibition


he British Museum will exhibit a collection of seized medieval Ukrainian jewellery until they can be safely returned to Kyiv..

Early medieval jewellery pieces, intercepted in the post in July last year, were illegally acquired and exported from Ukraine, reported the Art Newspaper.

Its 86 recovered metalwork antiquities include pendant crosses, dating from the 11th to 14th centuries, and disc pendants with a cross of a similar period.

The artefacts are thought to have been discovered by metal detectorists in Ukraine from either hoards or graves.

Hartwig Fischer, the British Museum’s director, told the newspaper: “Culture is fragile yet precious. We extend our deepest sympathy to our colleagues in museums, and to all the victims of this conflict, whether trapped or displaced, within Ukraine and beyond.

“We are working together with other organisations to provide aid and support to museums in Ukraine.”

Fedir Androschuk, the director general of the National Museum of History of Ukraine, said the country was “facing gigantic transnational looting of Ukrainian heritage”.

Early medieval objects stolen from Ukraine are often sold misleadingly as if they were Viking artefacts. according to the British Museum.

They will be showcased on display at the museum which is also hosting a separate exhibition on Ukraine that “celebrates Ukrainian culture from deep history to the present”.

Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain, welcomed the museum’s decision to display the precious objects before repatriating them to Kyiv, reported The Times.

“This is a timely and sound initiative at this difficult time, when Ukrainians are standing up for their freedom and sovereignty and when the voice of Ukraine needs to be heard in every corner of the world,” he told the newspaper.

“It is another opportunity for us to demonstrate our deep-rooted history, the authenticity of our people, and our well-deserved and undisputable right to self-determination and statehood.”

The UK Border force, which intercepted the historic items at Gatwick last July, said “detections of this kind are rare”.

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