Anguillan Marine Acheology Artifacts Apparently Stolen by Salvors

Anguillan Marine Acheology Artifacts ApparentlyStolen by

[Copy of letterreleased to the press as 8:00 am, Friday, 17 April 2009.]
– – – – – – – – – – —
16th April 2009

Honourable Osbourne Fleming
Chief Minister
Chief Minister’s Office
The Valley,

Dear Mr. Fleming,

Having heard the radio announcement on the recovery of medallions fromthe El Buen Consejo that were illegally removed from Anguilla, theBoard of the Anguilla Archeological and Historical Society (AAHS)feels compelled to provide you with a more detailed account of therecovery of the artifacts as it appears you were not adequatelybriefed. We are especially anxious to ensure that those persons in theUSA who were instrumental in this effort should be given due creditfor their invaluable assistance.

Through the research of AAHS Board member Mr. Bob Conrich, the boardbecame aware that an original medallion from the El Buen Consejo wason sale on eBay by a seller in Vermont.  Knowing that any ofthese artifacts outside of Anguilla could only have been illegallyremoved, Mr Conrich contacted the seller asking her to verify thatthese were not replicas. 

She explained that her former boyfriend had been given four suchmedallions in payment for work done by Mr. David Stevens of Vermont (apartner in AMR the company licensed by government to explore the wrecksite).  She also offered to have the medallion radiocarbon datedby the Archaeology Department at the University of Vermont. (UVM).This we encouraged as the head of Archaeology at UVM is Dr. John G.Crock, a friend of Anguilla, a member of the AAHS, and frequentvisitor to Anguilla.  

Dr Crock was alerted of the situation and contacted us immediately hewas approached by the eBay seller.  On our suggestion Dr. Crockagreed to notify the University campus police, who referred him to thelocal office of the FBI. The FBI visited the eBay seller, whovoluntarily returned the medallion and gave valuable information whichlead to the recovery of forty of the medallions in the Vermont areaalone.  While investigations continued in other states, Dr. Crockand the AAHS were asked to refrain from making an announcement so asnot to prejudice the investigations which it appear have nowconcluded.

The Board of the AAHSfeels that the people of Anguilla owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. JohnCrock for his assistance in this recovery.  Thanks should also goout to the local FBI office in Vermont who acted on this matterexpeditiously.   We believed that the seller was an innocentvictim who appeared to be unaware that the medallion was stolenproperty or that she was doing anything illegal.  We think sheshould also be thanked for her cooperation as this led to theunraveling of the theft, illegal export, smuggling and distribution ofAnguilla’s historical artifacts.

The agreement signed with AMR clearly stated that all the originalmedallions remained property of the Government of Anguilla and couldonly be removed from the island with the permission of the Government.Incidentally this is also enshrined in the Antiquities Act. We wouldsuggest therefore that others who were involved in the removal shouldbe prosecuted. The fact that the FBI is willing to aid in this wouldserve as a deterrent to similar actions not only in Anguilla but alsoin other Caribbean States where artifacts are stolen and exportedcontrary to law. This would also reflect well on the Government OfAnguilla as one willing to cooperate in the fight againstinternational crime.

Kenn Banks

cc   H E The Governor
        HonourableAttorney General
     The Press.


      35 Years of Environmental Service toSmall Tropical Islands

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands and the Chesapeake Bay; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 52 years to the late Kincey Burdett Potter (see President of the now-sunsetting Island Resources Foundation.
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