Did Demi Lovato Buy Fake ‘Ancient Egyptian Artifacts’?
Are Demi Lovato's new "ancient Egyptian artifacts" the real deal?
This past weekend, the "Confident" singer shared a series of Instagram Stories where they showed off cuneiform tablets, ankhs, glazed shabtis and other antiquities that allegedly date back millennia.
"I’m so excited, some really incredible things came in the mail today,” they said in a video shared in one Instagram Story. “These are ancient Egyptian artifacts.”
“Some of these pieces are literally thousands of years old,” Demi added. “Like, what? My mind is literally blowing right now, and I’m so excited.”
The pop star showed the camera the documents that came with their purchases from an online dealer called Museum Surplus. They claimed that they were "certificates of authenticity.”
However, some believe the artifacts are actually fake.
Archaeologist Peter Campbell, who teaches about cultural heritage under threat at Cranfield University in the U.K., wrote a series of tweets discussing Lovato's purchases and why he believes that they are inauthentic.
Ironically, he was teaching an International Heritage Crime course this past week and thought it was the perfect opportunity to discuss the antiquity business and cultural heritage exploitation.
"It is not illegal to own old things. The legal antiquities trade is valued [at over] $2 billion annually. However, there is a significant trade in illicit antiquities which draws on looted materials from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Italy, etc. And within that is a trade in fakes and forgeries," he began.
Typically, trafficking of cultural heritage artifacts post-1970 is illegal, however, he noted that Egyptian artifacts have protective laws that date much earlier.
"Which brings me to the paperwork accompanying Demi's purchases ... I have never seen provenance like this," Campbell shared. "None of the critical information is included. Were these exported in 1869 or last year? Where are the copies of the export permits? Who owned them previously?"
Campbell said that the alleged paperwork "lacks all of the critical data" and that he would have never advised anyone to purchase something unless they have the proper documents. He added that the papers seen in the video do not fulfill the necessary information to prove authenticity and do "not meet the due diligence standards advised for most buyers."
"Without a full ownership history, they could be stolen recently, or be fakes," he continued.
Campbell also questioned whether or not the public should be able to own pieces from a culture's history, artifacts of which may have been obtained through colonization, exploitation or other unethical means.
His questions sparked a conversation regarding the ownership of cultural artifacts.
"By all accounts Demi is a wonderful individual and I don't know this online store. However, this is an instructive example of how due diligence and provenance are critical. Hopefully, this was done with these artifacts," Campbell added.