The MFA’s collection includes works of ancient art from around the world, in particular from the Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Near East; Asia and Southeast Asia; and Central and South America. It has long been recognized that antiquities and archeological material are at high risk for illicit excavation and smuggling. The MFA deplores the looting of archeological sites and the trafficking of cultural property, and pays particular attention to the provenance of its ancient works of art. These pages provide information on the research the MFA has conducted on its antiquities, and the ownership resolutions reached between the Museum and foreign nations for illicit cultural property.
On Thursday, September 28, 2006, the MFA transferred 13 antiquities to Italy and signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Culture marking the beginning of a new era of cultural exchange.
In June 2014, the MFA reached an agreement with the National Commission of Museums and Monuments, Nigeria (NCMM), transferring to the Commission eight antiquities of Nigerian origin that were believed to have been the subject of illicit trafficking.
On September 22, 2011, the MFA and the Republic of Turkey finalized an agreement transferring ownership of the 2nd century, Roman Imperial sculpture Weary Herakles to the Turkish government.