Bones of contention: The global trade in archaeological and ethnographic human remains

Damien HufferArticle, Commentary, News, Report1 Comment

Bones of Contention.

These days, research on the depth and breadth of the global illicit antiquities trade, and how best to dismantle and prevent it, grows ever-more diverse. One particularly under-studied aspect continues to fascinate me: the trade in archaeological and ethnographic human remains. With licit and clearly illicit faces, deals conducted online (but most likely primarily off-line), this trade forms but one component … Read More

Curtailing the loss of cultural patrimony by curtailing demand

SAFECORNERArticle, Commentary1 Comment

EBay Egyptian Antiquities screenshot

Three years ago, we made this appeal to the trade: [U]ntil order is restored, we believe that if the demand for Egyptian antiquities is curtailed, if not stopped, the loss of Egypt’s cultural patrimony during this tumultuous time would be curbed. We then conducted a poll on the question: “Should market countries stop buying antiquities from Egypt until order is restored?” Seventy-six percent responded “Yes”; and … Read More

EBay: Lip service is not enough!

SAFECORNERCommentary2 Comments

As the holiday shopping season goes into full force, eBay – the leading online auction and shopping site – once again offers a dizzying array of objects listed under “antiquities.” Described as “early Neolithic,” “Bronze age”, “Tang Dynasty,” to “Khmer,” “Pre-Columbian,” “12th Century Djenne,” “Ancient Roman,” etc. these “antiquities” are advertised to originate from all corners of the world. They … Read More

Giving “victims” of the antiquities trade a voice: science in the public’s interest

Damien HufferCommentaryLeave a Comment

It’s been some time since I’ve written for SAFE, but an article I discovered while searching the bioarchaeological literature for my own research struck me as so incredible, I felt I just had to share it here. This link will lead you to a recent Journal of Forensic Sciences article by Seidemann, Stojanowski and Rich, detailing how they put cutting … Read More

A small victory?

Damien HufferCommentaryLeave a Comment

A couple days ago, I posted an expose about that proportion of the Southern Hemisphere antiquities trade currently passing through the hands of BC Galleries. They have apparently removed from their catalogs the Iron Age bangles containing human arm bones mentioned in my last post, but still feature other highly suspect artifacts, such as this immense Dong Son drum, this … Read More

The Problem With Fake Antiquities

Leo McNameeArticleLeave a Comment

It was recently reported that looting of archaeological sites in parts of Peru had declined due to an increase in the production of cheap fakes. I suggested in a previous post that Peruvian archaeology had found an unusual alley in online auction, sites such as eBay, because local thieves could make more money manufacturing cheap fakes than they could by … Read More

Ebay & Looting

Leo McNameeCommentary4 Comments

Peruvian archaeology has found an unusual ally in the battle against looting in the internet and websites such as eBay. This is according to Charles Stanish, a UCLA archaeologist, writing in the June 2009 issue of Archaeology. Stanish has excavated for 25 years at fragile archaeological sites in Peru. It was feared that online auction sites would increase looting as the looter could … Read More

EBay: A Solution to the Illicit Antiquities Trade?

Nathan ElkinsCommentaryLeave a Comment

A story from the latest Archaeology Magazine (C. Stanish, “Forging Ahead. Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love eBay,” Archaeology Magazine 62.3 (May/June 2009)) has been the subject of some blog discussions lately, e.g.: Larry Rothfield, “eBay Reduces Looting — Maybe,” The Punching Bag(21 April 2009)Derek Finchman, “‘What Fools the Curator Also Fools the Collector’,” Illicit Cultural Property … Read More

Regulating sales of artefacts in Britain soon?

Paul BarfordCommentary, Report5 Comments

The advocates of a free and unregulated market in portable antiquities frequently point to as the pattern they wish would be emulated globally. There seems to be a perception in the collecting community – especially in the USA – that in the United Kingdom there is some artefactual free for all and the heritage is up for grabs. The liberal … Read More