This Encyclopedia constitutes a preliminary source of case studies that reveal aspects of the transnational illicit trade in cultural objects.

Each entry synthesizes information taken from what are considered to be reliable sources, and presents a bibliography of primary publications to facilitate further research. We endeavour to prepare texts that are factually accurate and objective accounts, and the texts are not 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. The authors endeavour to attribute any images that are used, but we should be contacted by the owners of unattributed images.

The Recovered Bracelets (from Constantinescu 2010 (Antiquity))

Dacian Gold Bracelets

Five hoards of solid gold bracelets looted from the site of Sarmizegetusa Regia, Romania, and partially recovered from the USA and other countries in Europe.

Aden Museum_NAM 42=AM 729

Dat-Hamin Stele

Stolen South Arabian stela returned to Yemen by Phoenix Ancient Art in 2004...

A 1 8485

Derrynaflan Hoard

One of the most spectacular hoard discoveries in Ireland, which led first to an increase in enthusiasm for metal detecting as a hobby, but ultimately contributed to the prohibition of unlicensed searching for archaeological material.

Dos Cabezas by Kenneth Garrett

Dos Cabezas

Dos Cabezas is a Moche cultural site on Peru’s north coast that was the site of a major tomb looting event in the 1970s or 1980s and several recent looting incidents.

Black and white line drawing of a male figure on a Maya stela. The figure is standing in profile view wearing elaborate regalia on his whole body and carrying a sceptre and a shield.

Dos Pilas Stela 17

Maya sculpture that was looted and partially recovered; some portions remain missing.


HMS Duke of Albany

HMS Duke of Albany is a military vessel that was sunk during the First World War.