Cambodia's looted treasures

Davis, T. (2012), ‘Cambodia’s looted treasures’, Los Angeles Times, 25 April.

During the Cambodian civil war from 1970 to 1998, the Khmer Rouge and other paramilitary groups began decimating that country’s ancient sites in search of treasures to sell on the international art market. Along with arms dealing and drug smuggling, the looting and trafficking of artifacts became organized industries, which helped finance one of the 20th  century’s most notorious regimes.

My colleagues and I have documented the painful scars from this plunder — desecrated tombs, beheaded statues and ransacked temples — at archaeological sites throughout Cambodia. We’ve spoken with looters, middlemen and dealers, and have even posed as collectors. The exact path of pillaged objects is admittedly difficult to trace. But when they do surface, more often than not, it is in the legitimate art world.

Article also available, accessed 11 January 2013.