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Dig a Bit Deeper: Law, Regulation and the Illicit Antiquities Market

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 45 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2005 Pages: 249-268
Simon R. M. Mackenzie
Date Published
May 2005
20 pages
This study examined the move of the United Kingdom’s antiquities market from non-criminal to criminal and the impact of the criminal prohibition of antiquities as introduced by the 2003 Dealing in Cultural Objects Act.
The establishment of an international trade in antiquities is not a recent phenomenon. This is also true for looting. Today’s antiquities dealers and collectors are the product of a once noble line in colonial exploration. However, the United Kingdom market in antiquities is the site of trade of an unknown number of illicit artifacts which are often the product of looting in underdeveloped countries. The history of legal attempts to control the international market in looted antiquities begins early in history. An argument was made for the importance in designing a regulation to govern the market. In 2003, the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offenses) Act was introduced in the United Kingdom. Under this act, a new statute was passed criminalizing the knowing purchase of a looted cultural object. This paper examines the United Kingdom and international laws governing the movement of antiquities, specifically the effectiveness of the new statute, along with a qualitative study of buyers in Western markets. References


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