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One of the few places in Scotland where unauthorised metal detecting has been recorded to have taken place is on the Antonine Wall.
Corbridge has one of the most documented histories of instances of nighthawking in the United Kingdom.
Corinth Museum Theft 1990
In 1990 thieves stole more than 270 artifacts from the museum of the Corinth excavations in Greece. Several pieces were recovered from Christie’s New York in the late 1990s, while most of the remainder were discovered in Miami in 1999.
The Fano Bronze is a bronze statue currently owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum (Victorious Youth, 77.AB.30) but subject to an Italian claim for repatriation.
Giacomo Medici is an Italian antiquities dealer who was convicted in 2005 of receiving stolen goods, illegal export of goods, and conspiracy to traffic.
HMS Duke of Albany
HMS Duke of Albany is a military vessel that was sunk during the First World War.
Hungarian claim on the Sevso Treasure
The strongest claim to ownership of the collection of Late Roman silver known as the Sevso Treasure has been maintained by Hungary.
In 2001 a rich tomb was systematically looted at the Iranian site of Jiroft. Artefacts from this looting were trafficked out of Iran and several individuals involved were sentenced to death.
A Moche funerary site in Northern Peru that was looted for spectacular gold objects during the same looting wave that hit following the discovery of the famous lord of Sipán tomb.
Some of the most informative studies of the traffic in cultural objects have been conducted by investigative media.
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.
The Pangboche Hand is an alleged Yeti hand, stolen from a Nepali monastery. A finger was stolen in 1958 and smuggled by actor James Stewart and the complete hand was stolen in the early 1990s.
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.
Saqqara Royal Duck Vessels
Two stolen alabaster duck vessels returned to Egypt in 2008, one from Christie’s...
In 1993 a large, unprovenanced silver ‘treasure’ of Roman date was subject to a court battle over ownership in New York.
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.
Swetnam, Drew, Kelly Smuggling Ring of Objects from Sipán
The following is one particularly well documented incidence of the trafficking of artefacts from Sipan.
Indian antiquities dealer accused of selling stolen antiquities through Sotheby’s.
The Romano-British temple site at Wanborough in Surrey, England, was largely unknown and unstudied prior to a remarkable turn of events in the 1980s.
‘A Northumberland National Park Voluntary Ranger patrol discovered the illegal excavations in the central area of Yeavering Bell, the largest hillfort in Northumberland and a scheduled ancient monument’ (Young 2002).