loot and forgeries from Eastern Europe on the market in Western Europe, regardless of Russia’s war on Ukraine

In the course of researching artefact-hunting in Eastern Europe, I found netnographic evidence of transnational trafficking and analyses by ethical collectors of markets in Western Europe for looted antiquities (and forged antiquities) from Eastern Europe. Specifically, I found evidence of looting (and forgery) in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, some of which had been published by artefact-hunters in online forums and social networks, some of which had been published by ethical collectors Lodewijk and Renate, in “an open forum for dealers and collectors of ancient artifacts”. However, I didn’t have space to include it in the study, so I’ve posted it here. (Paul Barford has also commented on the evidence that has been provided by Lodewijk and Renate.)
Continue reading


artefact-hunting in drug plantations and by cannabis-cultivators in Ukraine (around 2014)

In the course of researching artefact-hunting in Eastern Europe, I found a discussion of the activity among drug-producers in Ukraine, as both a problem for some and a practice of others. This material, based on an 88-message conversation between early 2014 and early 2015, has been cut from the current draft of the text.
Continue reading


attitudes to personal and public health precautions among artefact-hunters amid the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic offers a novel lens through which to analyse the attitudes of artefact-hunters towards personal and public health precautions in particular and science, society and the state in general.
Continue reading


human rights worker and anti-imperialist fighter Maksym Butkevych has been captured by Russia’s invading forces

Maksym Butkevych, a pacifist Christian anarchist, human rights worker and journalist, who volunteered to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces to combat Russia’s war of aggression and genocide, has been captured by Russia’s invading forces and is being defamed with grotesque propaganda.
Continue reading


Russia’s destruction of Ukraine’s cultural property is proof of its intent to commit genocide.

Russia’s state media-spread, government official-reinforced programme/manual/handbook of “de-Nazification [денацификация]”, “de-Ukrainisation/de-Ukrainianisation [деукраинизацией]” and “de-Europeanisation [деевропеизация]” in Ukraine is a programme of genocide. And ‘genocide’ of Ukrainians has been the explicit, publicly-expressed desire of Russian ultranationalist ‘Kremlin ideologist Alexander Dugin’, since 2014 (at the latest).
Continue reading


Russia is subjecting cultural heritage workers and other civilians to the war crime of forced military labour.

Russia has been subjecting civilians in the occupied territories of Ukraine (legally-protected persons) to the war crime of forced military labour (also described as forced military service, forced mobilisation and compulsory enlistment) since 2015.
Continue reading


There is a market in Belarus for cultural property that has been stolen from Ukraine, pillaged by Russia’s soldiers and mercenaries.

According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (Головне управління розвідки Міністерства оборони України), the invading and occupying ‘Russian military has opened a bazaar for the sale of loot [Російські військові відкрили базар для торгівлі награбованим]’. The proceeds of this war crime include cultural property.

There is no evidence (yet) that this particular market is handling property that is legally protected specifically for its cultural value (on top of its value simply as public or private property), but this already shows the scale and organisation of the pillaging and that the targets of the pillaging include objects of a cultural nature.
Continue reading


open-source evidence of damage to and destruction of cultural heritage, natural heritage and other civilian objects through Russia’s war in and occupation of Ukraine

These are a few pieces of open-source evidence, primarily summaries of findings of investigations by the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Truth Hounds, which are part of a study that I’m doing with an archaeologist in Ukraine.
Continue reading


In 2018, “a chartered Tupolev-154 jetliner” reportedly flew from Kazakhstan to Switzerland, “loaded up” with “antiques, jewelry, works of art and other cargo”.

As we see monuments to dictators get toppled in demonstrations in Kazakhstan, as they were adapted in the Slipper Uprising in Belarus and toppled or adapted in the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine, we can see the causes of this civil resistance in a raft of issues around political unfreedom and socio-economic insecurity, including the theft of wealth by the elite that mires citizens in poverty, which involves the stashing and display of that dirty money in the form of cultural property.
Continue reading


Norway’s economic crime unit, Ministry of Culture, Cultural History Museum, National Library and University of Oslo are assisting Iraq in the pursuit of looted and illegally-exported antiquities

Norway’s economic crime unit (Økokrim), its Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) and supporting experts at the Cultural History Museum (Kulturhistorisk museum), the National Library (Nasjonalbiblioteket) and the University of Oslo (Universitetet i Oslo) are assisting Iraq in the pursuit of looted and illegally-exported antiquities.
Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: