Wednesday, February 15, 2012

EU Backs Major Research Study of Illicit Antiquities Market

The announcement that Simon Mackenzie and Neil Brodie have received a hefty grant to study the workings of the illicit antiquities market is wonderful news for all who care about improving policies to address the destruction of archaeological sites by market-driven antiquities looters. Studying any black market is a difficult matter, for obvious reasons, and in the case of the illicit antiquities market the paucity, spottiness, and unreliability of data has hobbled policy analysis, forcing more reliance on case studies, ethnography, and journalistic reporting. Mackenzie and Brodie have already both demonstrated they are the best in the business at looking systematically and objectively at what the empirical evidence can show us, and so the prospect of their being able to do so with ample resources over a four-year period is especially exciting. Congratulations to them both!

First George Clooney announces he is making a film on the Monuments Men, and now this: it is shaping up as a very good year.

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