A Yemeni archaeology expert has revealed that several Yemeni artifacts have been put up for public auctions in Western countries over the past two weeks.
Abdullah Mohsen, a Yemeni specialist in tracking and monitoring smuggled antiquities, has confirmed that a range of artifacts was put up for sale in international auctions on Nov. 15-27.
Among the showcased items were a bronze high-relief dating back to the 5th century BCE, a rare female figurine with inscriptions in cursive script, and a rare 1st-century BCE artifact.
Additionally, a collection of artifacts, sculptures, and antiquities estimated to be around 5,000 years old was featured.
According to Mohsen, an “archaeological tomb” was also relocated from Al-Jawf governorate to Shabwa governorate, and subsequently, it was flown to France.
Mohsen emphasized that this incident serves as a genuine illustration of the ease with which antiquities can be smuggled out of Yemen.
This reinforces speculations around the sale of these artifacts occuring wholesale from their discovery sites rather than through retail transactions.
Mohsen, through a series of Facebook posts, sheds light on the sale of a rare headstone in Toronto, Canada, on Nov. 17.
In the posts, Mohsen explains that the artifact dates back to the prehistoric period and is part of Yemen’s antiquities from Saba or Qataban.
The headstone was presented for sale in an auction after being acquired from an exhibition in New York on May 15, 2008, for approximately $40,000.
This revelation comes at a time when multiple sources confirm the ongoing looting and random excavation in several archaeological sites scattered across Houthi-run areas in Yemen.
These activities are driven by gangs and antiquities mafias supported by key Houthi leaders.
Nearly 12 out of 20 museums, as reported by a former official from the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums in Sanaa, have fallen victim to systematic looting, destruction, and devastation orchestrated by Houthis.