Major threats to cultural heritage come in two forms: destruction during military conflict and the looting of sites and collections. Both in antiquity and in contemporary times, we often see these destructive activities going hand in hand, but we also see a greater recognition that cultural remains should be protected.
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There are two sides to every story, and so it is here.
Taken from Greece, confiscated by an emperor and returned to the people.
“In the path of our advance will be found historical monuments and cultural centres which symbolise … all that we are fighting to preserve.”
Archaeological sites are regularly vandalized to satisfy the demand of the international art market.
Grave robbing destroyed much of the archaeological context in Sicán—can what remains unlock the past?
Archaeological sites are under constant threat from human and natural forces.
The royal site of Koh Ker was described as an outdoor museum—that all changed during the killing fields.
Conflict provides cover for art theft and trafficking—as war rages on, archaeological sites are pillaged.
Warned by an expert that this statue was “definitely stolen,” it took a lawsuit for Sotheby's to return it.
When conflict erupts in archaeologically rich countries, looted antiquities flood the art market.
Over 1000 of these sculptures were looted from Africa—now without context, they may never be understood.
Antiquities trafficking damages cultural heritage worldwide, and it will only stop when demand is reduced.