The International Market in Illicit Antiquities


Simon Mackenzie has conducted two empirical research projects into looted antiquities to date.  The first was a study of the regulatory structure which governs the international market, coupled with a focus on dealers and their role in creating and sustaining demand for illicit artefacts (2001-2004). Output from this study can be found in several journal articles as well as in the book Going, Going, Gone: Regulating the Market in Illicit Antiquities (2005), access at

The second project was a review of the UK’s Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, again focussing on the ways dealers in the market responded to this legislation, tracking the legislative process and the initial effects of the introduction of the new criminal law. This project was funded by the ESRC, 2005-2007. Prof Penny Green and I edited a compilation of essays on the interface between criminology and archaeology, published by Hart in 2009. That book is called Criminology and Archaeology: Studies in Looted Antiquities, and it includes a chapter summarising our research into the 2003 Act. Here’s a link to the publisher’s site for that one – click here.

Other publications on this topic include a paper in the procedings of the ISPAC/UNODC conference on organised crime and the antiquities market in Courmayeur (Dec 2008) and a background paper prepared for the UNODC intergovernmental expert meeting on protection against trafficking in cultural property which was held in Vienna in 2009.