Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Antiquities Watchdog Volume 51 Number 1, January/February 1998
by Mark Rose

The Illicit Antiquities Research Centre (IARC) of the McDonald Insitute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge, England, has begun monitoring the international trade in antiquities stolen or clandestinely excavated and illegally exported.

The center hopes to link groups that keep lists of stolen antiquities (such as the Art Loss Register, the International Foundation for Art Research, the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art, and Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Department), national antiquities authorities, the academic community, and legitimate collectors and dealers of ancient art.

Other goals of IARC include pressing the British government to ratify international conventions on the trade in antiquities, trying to cooperate with dealers and auction houses to encourage adherence to ethical practices, and promoting educational measures to foster respect for archaeological heritage.

IARC's Near Eastern Project will publish a biannual report, Culture Without Context, which will document the depredation of sites and museums in the Near East, Egypt, and Asia Minor, especially in areas disrupted by international and civil conflicts. The first issue is devoted to the appearance of Assyrian sculptures on the international art market.

Peter Watson, author of Sotheby's: Inside Story, has joined IARC, where he will continue investigating the illicit antiquities trade. Random House will publish an American edition of the book this year.

© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America