Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Most nations have placed some kind of sovereign claim on their archaeological heritage. In nations with strong patrimony laws, it is illegal for an unauthorized individual to excavate or own antiquities (which are in effect taken into state ownership); in those with less stringent legislation, it is legal to own antiquities but not to export them. Illicit antiquities are archaeological objects—whether artifacts from below ground or pieces forcibly removed from standing monuments—that have been illegally excavated and/or exported from their country of origin. There is a thriving trade in such material, whether it be Paracas textiles from Peru, stone Khmer sculpture from Cambodia, ceramic vases from Italy, coins from England, terra-cotta statuettes from West Africa, or bronze Natarajas from India. Trade in illicit antiquities is thought to rank third in illegal trade value, after arms and narcotics. Every antiquity, it seems, can command a price, and every country has a ...