Focusing Efforts to Impact the Precolumbian Antiquities Trade

Author(s): Ramzi Aly; Christopher Beekman

Year: 2017


How can we as archaeologists best focus our efforts to have a positive impact upon the Precolumbian antiquities market? We will discuss some of the most important restrictions upon law enforcement investigations into antiquities smuggling, by drawing upon case experience. We will discuss how both foreign and American government departments may overestimate law enforcement’s ability to pursue legal action based on a flawed understanding of constitutional law; how antiquities smuggling is of low prosecutorial priority relative to drug, weapons, or human trafficking; and how antiquities possession, as part of a mixed market, is not a prima facie crime and therefore much harder to prosecute. While we can posit institutional changes that could positively impact these restrictions, we find them unlikely to be enacted in the current political climate. Our efforts may be better rewarded by trying to change attitudes than impacting policy, both through education and through foreign aid.

Cite this Record

Focusing Efforts to Impact the Precolumbian Antiquities Trade. Ramzi Aly, Christopher Beekman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430102)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15550