Controlling the Illicit Trade in Antiquities: A Criminological Analysis of Demand Reduction Policies

Christine Alder, University of Melbourne

This paper explores the contribution of criminological analysis to the control of the illicit traffic in plundered antiquities. Recent years have seen a sharpening of concern of archaeologists and others concerned with cultural heritage regarding the destruction of cultural sites in order to provide material for the vast international market in antiquities. The present analysis compares this traffic with other illicit markets, such as those involved illegal drugs, in order to assess the various proposed policy recommendations. Like many other illicit markets, many of the early steps have focused on policies aimed at restriction of supply. The paper examines the general lack of success of supply reduction strategies, and argues for an exploration of those focused on demand. A number of separate possibilities of demand reduction are reviewed, including steps which have been taken, or have been proposed, by leading market states.

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Updated 05/20/2006