Museums battle it out in court for collection of Black Sea treasures

scythian gold crimea allard piersonA court case begins in Amsterdam on Wednesday to determine the future of a collection of gold and other treasures from the Black Sea region.

Four museums in Crimea are taking legal action to force the Allard Pierson museum to hand back treasures loaned before Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory.

The exhibition, entitled The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea, was held in 2014. It included what the museum said are ‘spectacular archaeological finds’, including gold items, a scabbard and a ceremonial helmet, and countless precious gems.

The items came from five museums in Ukraine, four of which are now under the control of Russia. Ukraine has also demanded the return of the works and says they belong in Kiev.

The Allard Pierson museum decided to hold onto the treasures pending the outcome of the court case into the claims. The Netherlands does not recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Today’s court hearing is to determine what the next legal procedure in the case should be. Experts say it could drag on for years before the fate of the treasures is finally decided.

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