Ethics: antiquities, looting and buying of

Brodie, N. (2008), ‘Ethics: antiquities, looting and buying of’, in D. Pearsall (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Archaeology (Oxford: Elsevier).

An illicitly traded archaeological artifact (illicit antiquity) is one that has at sometime been traded in contravention of national or international legal regulations. Typically, it will have been removed illegally from an archaeological site or monument, and/or exported illegally from its country of origin. Possibly,it will have been stolen from a museum or other cultural institution, or from a private owner. The act of removal is normally unrecorded and probably destructive. Illicit antiquities are often sold by reputable vendors without any public indication of ownership history (provenance).