Monday, 1 December 2014

Need to Examine Question of Paramilitary Funding from the Illicit Antiquities Trade

Your antiquities; their lives
With reference to Glasgow University researcher Jessica Dietzler's denial that there is any evidence for the participation of Syrian conflict antiquities in the trade (here), Sam Hardy has drawn my attention to a passage in his text 'Is there significant evidence of paramilitary funding from the illicit antiquities trade? Yes', Conflict Antiquities June 21st 2014: 
 Since Tompa didn’t demonstrate any faults in the sources of my allegedly ‘dubious’, ‘wild claims’ or even provide many sources for his own claims, it’s worth noting that some other academics do agree with Derek (and our disagreements are empirical). For example, archaeologist-criminologist Donna Yates has ‘doubt[ed] they [ISIS] are making millions of anything at all’, because of their ‘silly high‘ financial figures, for which ‘[n]o proof or info[rmation]‘ has been provided; and she has supported Derek’s querying of the ‘antiquities/terror press hoopla‘ (unnecessary fuss) – much of the hoopla surrounding a report that ‘New Evidence Ties Illegal Antiquities Trade to Terrorism, Violent Crime‘. So what is the evidence?
It would be helpful if the Glasgow Trafficking culture project as a whole, instead of pouring scorn on what others were saying, would actually apply their own investigative skills to this topic which is sure to dominate the discussion on the antiquities trade for the next few years. While understanding 1970s looting in Cambodia and the travels of a Sipan back-flap (etc.) are no doubt fascinating, and perhaps help to understand some general mechanisms and issues, the need to combat the looting on the scale of what we are seeing on more and more sites in Syria is surely just as pressing. A search of the TC website for detailed texts on the ongoing looting problem and the current smuggling problem shows their coverage is hardly very extensive or representative.

1 comment:

David Gill said...

And think about the link between Gandharan antiquities in the run-up to September 2011.

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