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Homeland Security IDs Greek Cultural Property for Import Restrictions

On December 1, 2011, Federal Register published the final rule on import restrictions imposed on Certain Archaeological and Ethnological Materials from Greece. The report was approved by the commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Treasury.

The Designated List of Material Encompassed in Import Restrictions includes, for example, archaeological material from many periods, styles, and cultures (Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, Minoan, Cycladic, Helladic, Mycenaean, Submycenaean, Geometric, Orientalizing, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine). It also explains what types of items are suspect — stone sculptures, monuments, reliefs, furniture, vessels, tools and weapons, seals and beads; metal sculpture, personal ornaments, vessels and coins; various ceramics; items made of bone, ivory, glass, textiles, papyrus and others.

From the summary of the rule: “This final rule amends the existing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to reflect the imposition of import restrictions on certain archaeological and ethnological material from the Hellenic Republic (Greece). New restrictions were imposed pursuant to the July 17, 2011 agreement between the United States and Greece that has been entered into under the authority of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CCPIA) in accordance with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The final rule amends CBP regulations by adding Greece to the list of countries for which a bilateral agreement has been entered into for imposing cultural property import restrictions. The final rule also contains the designated list that describes the types of archaeological and ethnological articles to which the restrictions apply.”

For the full report, its background, determinations and the list of articles covered by the new restrictions access here.

More information on import restrictions can be found on the International Cultural Property Protection Web site (

PS On Nov. 30, 2011, Cardozo Art Law Society hosted Michael McCullough, solo practitioner specializing in customs law. His presentation on import and export restrictions for works of art and cultural property laid a solid foundation for this CBP rule. Many thanks to Mr. McCullough for his lecture.