*Below is a Huffington Post article by Deborah Lehr, Chair of the Capitol Archaeological Institute. AntiquityNOW is an affiliate of the Institute. The article raises critical points elucidating the nexus of cultural heritage, economic viability and criminal racketeering—issues reflecting a sad and ancient saga of looted treasures and lost inheritance.
Many of us are familiar with crimes committed by organized gangs, from drug running, the weapons trade, to the sex trade. However, there is one kind of crime, the looting and trade of antiquities that is on par with these abhorrent black market businesses, yet seldom discussed. The illegal trade in art and antiquities or cultural racketeering is one of the top five most profitable illegal global businesses. It ravages cultural icons and deprives local communities of their heritage. If we don’t take a stand, we are not just allowing these criminals to steal our common history, but also the future economic potential of these communities. Continue reading