Non-Fiction Books:

Illicit Antiquities

The Theft of Culture and the Extinction of Archaeology

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Illicit Antiquities by Neil Brodie
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The exploitation of archaeological sites for commercial gain is a serious problem worldwide. In peace and during wartime archaeological sites and cultural institutions, both on land and underwater, are attacked and their contents robbed for sale on an international 'antiquities' market. Objects are excavated without record, smuggled across borders and sold for exorbitant prices in the salesrooms of Europe and North America. In some countries this looting has now reached such a scale as to threaten the very survival of their archaeological and cultural heritage. Museums and religious monuments too are condemned to suffer continuing vandalism and theft as the search for saleable antiquities intensifies. The histories of many peoples are destroyed in the process, and their religious and cultural traditions disfigured. The tragedy is made worse by the conscription of local people who are often forced by their poverty to participate in the destruction of their past. This volume highlights the deleterious effects of the trade on cultural heritage, but in particular it focuses upon questions of legal and local responses: How can people become involved in the preservation of their past and what, in economic terms, are the costs and benefits? Are international conventions or export restrictions effective in diminishing the volume of the trade and the scale of its associated destruction? This work will be an extremely useful resource for museum professionals and archaeologists who are trying to curtail the present-day destruction of our archaeological heritage. It also provides an indispensable text for undergraduate and postgraduate courses on archaeology and cultural heritage management covering as it does a wide geographical area and with contributions from museum professionals to field archaeologists, many of whom have been actively involved in the political processes described in this volume.

Author Biography

Neil Brodie is an Archaeologist who since 1988 has been Coordinator of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge. Kathryn Walker Tubb is an Archaeological Conservator and Lecturer at the Institue of Archaeology, University College London. She has co-organized a major international conference entitled 'Conservation and the AntiquitiesTrade' in 1993 for the UK Institute for Conservation Archaeology Section.
Release date NZ
November 22nd, 2001
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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