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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, 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.

Wanboro 85 looting damage courtesy David Graham SyAS

Nighthawk

The term ‘nighthawk’ is generally used to refer to an individual who knowingly uses a metal detector in illegal activity, particularly involving theft from a protected archaeological site and/or from private land.

Nimrud Earrings

Nimrud Earrings

In 2010 Christie’s New York returned a pair of Neo-Assyrian gold earrings to Iraq.

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Nok Terracottas

Terracotta figurative sculpture found on the Bauchi plateau of Nigeria. Heavily looted from the 1970s onwards.

Yajaw Te' K'inich ruler of Mutul de San Jose on a vase from the November Collection, MFA 1988.1177

November Collection of Maya Pottery

A spectacular collection of Classic Maya pottery thought to have been systematically looted from Guatemalan sites throughout the 1980s now in the possession of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.