Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Metal Detectorists Loot France of Archaeological Treasures

France loses at least half a million buried archeological items to pillagers each year, a group fighting the practice says ('Pillagers' loot France of archeological treasures', The Local   23 Jan 2014) :
Many items are lost to treasure hunters from the UK and other neighbouring countries. Jean-David Desforges, head of the French  association Stop the Pillage of Archeological and Historical Heritage (Happah), told The Local on Thursday that many objects from ancient Gaul, and Nazi artefacts from World War II were being illegally dug up and sold on by thousands of prospectors using metal detectors. Desforges said many of the "pillagers" come from the UK and France's other neighbouring countries to hunt for archeological treasure and sell it abroad. "In Normandy and part of northern France a lot of English will come over with metal detectors and scour the battle fields from the First and Second World Wars. It is the same along the border with Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany where these people will cross into France to search war battlefields and take what they found back to their country," he said.
The problem has dramatically increased in recent years and has exploded on the internet. The association, which is endorsed by France's culture ministry, has signed deals with eBay France to alert suspect objects put up for sale online - something it does 1,000 times a day, Desforges said. 

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