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'Weary Herakles': Looters vs. Archaeologists

There is a Roman statue of a man that dates from the 2nd century A.D. known as "Weary Herakles." It is a marble statue of a man standing, resting his arm on a club which is draped with an animal skin. He was found in Perge, on the south coast of Turkey. This statue is unlike others in that it has been broken in almost two equal parts (top and bottom). In 1980, archaeologists excavated the bottom half. It now resides at the Antalya Museum in Turkey.

Coincidentally, in the early 1980's, the late American collector Leon Levy and his wife, Shelby White, purchased and later donated to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the 27" upper half of the Weary Herakles.(The upper half happens to be more valuable because it shows his bearded face and shoulders.)

Because of the Turkish law of 1906, the government has asked for restitution of the upper half so that the two fragments can be joined. The MFA has refused to consider Turkish petition.

In 1992, casts of the two fragments were placed together. They were found to match perfectly. The MFA says the statue may have broken in ancient times, and the upper torso may have been taken from Turkey before Turkish law established state ownership of archaeological finds.

It must be noted that no provenance was provided by the MFA or Leon Levy. Looting is a consideration as there was no provenance and no record of it being in another collection. The fact is: the upper torso was unknown until the 1980's. Was it removed by looters and smuggled before 1980?

We can only consider the possibility that if the upper torso were properly excavated by archaeologists in 1980 with the lower torso, then perhaps the Weary Herakles would be intact today.

I'd like to share what the publisher from Archaeology Magazine says about his publication. "Articles are written by archaeologists and feature reports of current excavations, recent discoveries, and special studies of ancient kingdoms."
To subscribe to the popular Archaeology Magazine, just click below. Available here from Amazon.com.





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