Session: #114

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological heritage and museum management: future chances, future risks
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Illegal Obtaining and Trade of Archaeological Artefacts: Status Quo and Counteraction
In the framework of the session we will discuss illicit circulation of archaeological objects. The problem is going to be observed in particular through the perspective of fluid networks, i.e. interchangeable participants (such as looters, smugglers, antiquity dealers, experts, auction houses, collectors, museums), which are connected through single interactions. They often perform highly specific roles at each network node and simultaneously dilute responsibility.
We will discuss functions and tasks of these network participants, including but not limited to looting, smuggling, trading, document falsification, provenance generation, antiquity marketing, and object verification.
A special focus will be the understanding of how monetary value is created and increased. Consequently, we encourage discussions on illegal business strategies at different nodes of fluid networks, on assessing risk awareness and risk behaviour of market participants, and on the effectiveness of counteraction policies.
Particular attention will be paid to the political and juridical side of illegal obtaining and trade of archaeological artefacts, and different strategies discussed.
We would like to identify knowledge gaps and future avenues of research in order to find new possibilities to reduce the damage being inflicted upon our shared cultural heritage and discuss how to increase awareness not only of market participants but local communities about the devastating effects on cultural heritage and economic growth caused by looting and trading of archaeological objects.
illicit trafficking, looting, antiquity dealers, private collectors
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Marianne Mödlinger (Italy) 1
Gino Caspari (Switzerland) 2
Matija Črešnar (Slovenia) 3
Andris Kairiss (Latvia) 4
1. University of Genoa
2. University of Bern
3. University of Ljubljana
4. Latvian Academy of Culture