Terminology

Seized antiquities from the Bulgerian Interior Ministry of Tourism

Illicit Antiquities

Why the use of ‘illicit’ rather than ‘illegal’ or ‘criminal’ in the literature when talking about the international market in looted antiquities?

index

Tchorniye arkheologi (‘Black archaeologists’ or чёрные археологи)

Different terms and nicknames are used across the world to describe illegal diggers of archaeological sites, such as tombaroli (in Italy), nighthawks (in the British Isles), and huecheros (Belize and Guatemala). In parts of Eastern Europe including the Russian Federation, and other post-Soviet states such as Moldova (Musteață 2010), and the Baltic states (Monitoring Group 2005: 19; Ulst 2010),...

Nebry by Dbachmann

Raubgräber

‘Raubgrabung’ means ‘illegal excavation’ in German (literally ‘robbery dig’), and ‘Raubgräber’ is a term used to refer to those excavating an archaeological site illegally, usually involving the use of a metal detector.

800px-Sheet_Gold_Plaque,_Staffordshire_Hoard_by_John Callas

Treasure (England and Wales)

As a legal term, Treasure has been used in England and Wales to refer to specific categories of archaeological artefact.

20120224-antiquities-fakes

Fakes and Forgeries

A fake is something that purports to be what it is not.

800px-Morgantina_bouleuterion1_by)Morgantina07

Tombarolo

‘Tombarolo’ is an Italian term (plural ‘tombaroli’), derived from the Italian word ‘tomba’, meaning tomb or grave.

ArmadilloHuechero

Huechero

A huechero is a person who clandestinely excavates at archaeological sites for the purpose of obtaining marketable antiquities; a looter.

a huaco found by a huaquero in peru

Huaquero

A huaquero is a person who clandestinely excavates at archaeological sites for the purpose of obtaining marketable antiquities; a looter.

Cambodian Family Looting (photo from memotcentre.org)

Subsistence Digging

The term ‘subsistence digger’ is used to refer to an individual who engages in the illicit excavation of archaeological sites for saleable cultural objects due to extreme poverty...

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.