The Antiquities Trade: Four Case Studies
This chapter presents by means of four case studies an overview of the problems and issues surrounding the antiquities trade, which confound historical scholarship and offer opportunities for criminal involvement and profit. For these reasons, the trade is considered harmful and is subject to national and international regulation. There is an ongoing debate over the relative merits of strong or weak statutory regulation, and a parallel debate over the effectiveness of implemented regulation, particularly that of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which remains the most widely applied international instrument in this context. Implemented regulation is often vitiated by poor enforcement, possibly because the antiquities trade is not seen to be a political priority and in consequence policing is under resourced.