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The Pillage of Prehistory

  • Payson D. Sheets (a1)

The pillaging of archaeological sites throughout the world for salable items is increasing at an alarming rate. Recent information on looting in Mesoamerica, North America, and the Mediterranean area is summarized, and the weaknesses of the UNESCO and U.S.-Mexico treaties are outlined. Also described is a new and extremely destructive form of looting in Mesoamerica. It involves amassing many thousands of dollars from private investors for a project to decimate a chosen site, using explosives and power equipment, and then subdividing the loot among the sponsors. It is time for the SAA to act to stop the wanton destruction of the prehistoric record.

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Adams, Robert McC. 1971 Illicit international traffic in antiquities. American Antiquity 36(l):iiiii.
Beals, Ralph L. 1971 Traffic in antiquities. American Antiquity 36:374375.
Carley, William M. 1971 Some of the looters of archaeological sites now turn to murder. Wall Street Journal, Nov. 30,1971:1, 24. Ambro
C. William, Clewlow, Jr., Hallinan, P. J., and R. D., 1971 A crisis in archaeology. American Antiquity 36:472473.
Clemency, Coggins 1969 Illicit traffic of Pre-Columbian antiquities. Art Journal 29:94114.
Clemency, Coggins 1970 The Maya scandal: how thieves strip sites of past cultures. Smithsonian 817.
Davis, Hester A. 1971 Is there a future for the past? Archaeology 24:300306.
Heath, D. W., and Hunter, J. R. 1969 Costa Rican Government restricts archaeological investigation. Current Anthropology 10:466.
Owen, David R., 1970 Picking up the pieces: the salvage excavation of a looted fifth century B.C. shipwreck in the Straits of Messina. Expedition 13:2429.
Ann, Zelle 1971 Aquisitions: saving whose heritage? Museum News 49:1926.
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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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