Looted Artifacts, Lost History

Author(s): Michael N Hogan

Year: 2013


            The looting of archaeological sites is not new. However, the glamorization of finding and selling artifacts has reached a larger audience through recent American television shows such as Spike TV’s "American Digger" and National Geographic’s "Diggers" which illustrate the unscientific removal and sale of cultural materials.   While federal and state laws protect sites on public land, sites on private property are less safeguarded.  In states such as Texas, which is 95% privately owned, education is the only avenue to protect sites.  Two metal detector collections removed by artifact hunters in the 1980’s from Spanish Colonial and Republic-era sites in south Texas were recently loaned to Texas Tech University for study. Later, these sites were investigated archaeologically allowing a study of both the looted and archaeological collections. This comparison illustrates the types of artifacts that are typically removed by metal detector enthusiasts and offers insight into what is lost archaeologically.

Cite this Record

Looted Artifacts, Lost History. Michael N Hogan. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428741)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 277