David Gill

David Gill is recognized for raising public awareness about looting and the need to protect cultural heritage worldwide.

Professor Gill has done perhaps more than any other single individual to offer scholars, students, and members of the public a more complete picture of the devastating effects of the illicit antiquities trade. Most notably, Gill has added quantitative rigor to the description not only of the dimensions of the illicit antiquities trade, but also to its intellectual consequences. Using a wide range of data, Gill has regularly delivered the essential facts about looting: how many tombs looted, how many sculptures lost, how many unprovenienced objects in the collection, how many pieces without provenance in the auction sale. These facts have been essential in not only raising public consciousness about the issue of lost cultural heritage, but also armed those who fight against looters, dealers and collectors with powerful tools.

David Gill’s blog, Looting Matters, is universally regarded as the gold standard for up-to-the-minute news and nuanced discussion on archaeological ethics and the collecting of antiquities. It has also become a force in policing auction houses. Several times, because of the pressure brought to bear by Looting Matters, by identifying objects of questionable provenance and those associated with known dealers of stolen antiquities, auction houses have withdrawn items for sale. This sort of action helps create an environment of intolerance for the sale of objects of dubious origin, reducing demand and thus, the looting of sites. Few among those working in the field of heritage preservation can claim such a single-handed success.

SAFE thanks Professor Gill, and we are proud to recognize him with this award.

David Gill is Head of the Division of Humanities and Professor of Archaeological Heritage at University Campus Suffolk. He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, and was a Sir James Knott Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was previously a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University at Cambridge, and Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at Swansea University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.  Professor Gill is the recipient of AIA’s 2012 Outstanding Public Service Award.