Reasons to Doubt: Misleading Assertions in the London Antiquities Market - Tsirogiannis, C. (2016), ‘Reasons to Doubt: Misleading Assertions in the London Antiquities Market’, *Journal of Art Crime*. Spring. 67–72. Over the last ...
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Archaeologists say these small drones can help set boundaries to protect sites from squatters or miners.A valuable, highly cost-effective tool for site protection as well as for discovery, then -- and, one should add, a tool that could and should also be deployed to protect sites not just from squatters and mining companies but from looters. In either case, however, the caveat is that the drones provide actionable intelligence but the police still need to exist and have the will and capacity to act on this intelligence. When Peruvian property developers bulldoze a pyramid, there is clearly also a need to strengthen deterrence.
Robotic aerial vehicles are on the front lines for combat and security monitoring, but they're also increasingly on the front lines for archaeology and other research.
Such vehicles have to be operated safely, so that they don't injure the people nearby — or, for that matter, the ancient sites being mapped.
Looking back [at the last ten years since the invasion of Iraq in 2003], one thing is clear. The effort and resources put into protecting Iraqi sites during the 2000s have done nothing to help protect Syrian and Egyptian sites in the 2010s. Similarly, whatever international response can be mobilised now to protect sites on the ground in Syria will do nothing to protect sites in the next country along. Nor will it do anything to protect sites in Iraq. (Has the looting actually stopped in Iraq? If so, why? If not, why isn’t it being reported and what is being done about it?) The response to archaeological looting seems reactive, working on a country-by-country basis, but this is not enough. Looting will never be controlled by on-the-ground site protection, which is much too expensive and usually a case of too little too late. Looting will only be curtailed by adequate policies of trade regulation at the international level, focusing on demand, not supply.The reasoning here seems wrong to me, both as a matter of logic and as a matter of evidence. To begin with the evidence: Brodie seems to believe that there was "effort and resources put into protecting Iraqi sites during the 2000s", when the focus should have been on "trade regulation at the international level, focusing on demand". That strikes me as backwards: the focus was on getting the UN to put in place a worldwide ban (Resolution 1483), and on embarrassing the museums into tightening their acquisitions policies. As for putting resources into protecting Iraqi sites, we know that the opposite is the case: the US disbanded Iraq's antiquities police and did next to nothing to protect the vast majority of Iraqi sites itself during the occupation period; after the return of sovereignty to the Iraqi government, the US failed to either assist Iraq in reconstituting its antiquities police or to jawbone the Iraqi government into doing so. As late as 2010 (if memory serves), a New York Times article reported that only 50-100 of the 5,000 or so antiquities police that Iraq's own antiquities policing chief said were needed had been budgeted for. Little wonder then that massive looting occurred in Iraq during that period.