Archive for June 21st, 2014

21/06/2014

Is there significant evidence of paramilitary funding from the illicit antiquities trade? Yes.

According to antiquities collector and paid antiquities collecting lobbyist Peter Tompa (@Aurelius161180), ‘the archaeological lobby is cynically exploiting the rise of the ISIS terrorist group in Iraq to try to justify a further clamp down on collectors’.

Apparently, I am that lobby. And apparently a wish for antiquities traders only to trade in demonstrably legal antiquities is a call for a clamp down. Is there any evidence for my allegedly ‘dubious’, ‘wild claims’?

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21/06/2014

the connection of looting and terrorism (or political violence) in cultural heritage advocacy

Derek Fincham (@derekfincham) has queried the looting-terrorism connection in cultural heritage advocacy. I want to say, first of all, that I share his wariness of the use of the terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” (which is why I tend to use the terms “paramilitary” and “political violence”), his wariness of presuming connections between antiquities looting and political violence (which is why I was cautioning to wait for evidence specifically on ISIS on the day that it was published), and his desire for cultural heritage to be protected because of its own value as a community resource.

However (in a collegiate pub chat way), I’m not sure that the connections between antiquities looting and political violence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere are ‘cheap’. I’ll discuss the evidence concerning those situations in the next post, in my response to an antiquities collecting lobbyist’s comment on my work.

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