International media has reported the theft of 2000 exhibits from the British Museum, in which the employees of the museum were allegedly involved and which happened in August this year.
The British Museum houses around 500 Georgian artifacts, the fate of which is still unclear. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Embassy of Georgia in Britain have not officially announced whether there were any Georgian treasures among the exhibits stolen from the museum.
Among the Georgian artifacts preserved in the British Museum is the King David Agmashenebeli copper coin, the only surviving coin with the image of David the Builder, which was created during his reign (1089-1125); Nino Wardrop’s necklace, with a cross that belonged to George XII; and bronze buckles dated to the 1st-2nd centuries. In addition to the exhibits listed above, coins from the time of Queen Rusudan, King Lasha-George and George XII are held in Britain.
NGO Sakdrisi Committee for Cultural Heritage appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth of Georgia and the Embassy of Georgia in Britain, to pay attention to the issue, and to find and publicize information about the current state of the Georgian exhibits, because they are part of the history of Georgia and priceless treasures.
The museum’s administration says 60 artifacts have already been returned, and the chairman of the museum, George Osborne, says it will be possible to return about 350 artifacts in the near future. The fate of the rest of the lost exhibits is unclear.
On August 25, the director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, resigned. The museum says the 2000 stolen artifacts are domestic crimes carried out by individuals the museum has trusted for years.