Thursday 5 January 2017

Blood Antiquities: Archaeologists Shot by Antiquities Smugglers

Collectors, as we can all see, do not give a tinkers where the artefacts they acquire come from, or how they got on the market: ARCA blog: 'Three Iranian archaeologists shot and seriously injured by antiquities smugglers in the Kurdistan province of Iran'.
three heritage workers were seriously injured after having been ambushed by looters searching a remote area for ancient objects [on] [...] a site in rural Baneh County along Iran's western border in an area where unauthorized excavations and looting activity were reported. While examining the terrain, heritage personnel came across a grouping of tools used by looters to carry out their illegal trade. Ambushed a short while after, two site experts and one heritage bureau employee from the city of Baneh were fired upon and had their vehicle overturned. Two have sustained critical injuries and one has undergone surgery at Saladine Hospital.[...] Because the city of Baneh sits alongside this territorial boundary and has long struggled with underdevelopment and high unemployment, the Iran Kurdistan province has grown a reputation for being a zone where illegal transportation, goods smuggling and illicit drugs pass can pass through the difficult to secure and often times porous border.
It is all very well collectors saying that instead of them demanding dealers document licit origins of artefacts, 'the way to stop looting and smuggling is to monitor and guard sites', but that involves exposing human lives to danger from the criminal gangs that are involved in supplying fresh artefacts to the market. Far better to clean up the buyers market and exclude the possibilities of blood antiquities reaching it in the first place.

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