This Encyclopedia constitutes a preliminary source of information on various aspects of the transnational trade in cultural objects. It comprises an inter-linked collection of short entries, grouped together and organized according to the headings Case Studies, Law, Theory & Method and Terminology. They are further sorted by Place and by Subject.
Each entry synthesizes information taken from what are considered to be reliable sources, and presents a bibliography of primary publications to facilitate further and more in-depth research. The authors endeavour to prepare texts that are factually accurate and objective accounts, and the texts are not therefore indicative of an author’s personal opinion.
The Encyclopedia is a work in progress, and new entries will be added (and current entries updated as appropriate) as time permits. It is intended primarily as a resource for academic research into the trade, but has also been assembled with provenance research in mind, and should appeal to a broader constituency of interested readers. The authors endeavour to attribute any images that are used, but we should be contacted by the owners of unattributed images.
The Kumluca Silver is a collection of more than forty sixth-century AD Byzantine silver artefacts, thought to have been found close to the small town of Kumluca in southern Turkey, and bought by Dumbarton Oaks in 1963.
When a London antiquities dealer offered the British Museum rare Iron Age bronze miniature shields, it triggered the tracing of the origins of a unique and archaeologically significant, but illegally looted, hoard.
The Aidonia Treasure is a collection of Mycenaean gold and jewelry returned to Greece in 1996 and thought to have been robbed from a cemetery at Aidonia in the late 1970s.
Toledo Museum of Art Return to Italy (2013)
In January 2013 the Toledo Museum of Art returned a piece that was discovered to have been smuggled out of Italy.
El Manatí Wooden Olmec Busts
A collection of small Olmec figural carvings found in a single archaeological context. Busts of this style have been seen on the art market and have been seized from the collection of dealer Leonardo Patterson. Some questions have been raised around issues of authenticity.
Las Bocas-style Figurines
A popular style of Olmec figurine said to be from the Mexican site of Las Bocas that was defined entirely by looted material that appeared on the art market.
South Pole Exploration Artefacts Taken from Campsites of Robert Falcon Scott
Since the main Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, sites associated with the exploration of the continent have been protected. Items stolen from these sites have been subject to voluntary return.
Surface investigation of looted archaeological sites
Regional surveys of archaeological landscapes offer a means of investigating and quantifying the damage caused by the looting of archaeological sites.
Everbeek Roman Silver Hoard
The third-century Roman silver hoard from Everbeek is one of the most high-profile archaeological finds of recent years in Flanders and it has contributed to the political debate surrounding amateur metal detection.
A Classic Maya site from which several archaeologically-recorded stelae were looted in the 1970s. Their whereabouts are unknown.