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Huaqueros and remote sensing imagery: assessing looting damage in the Virú Valley, Peru

  • Daniel A. Contreras (a1)

This article presents a new initiative in combating looting from the air, building on previous work in Iraq and Jordan. Looted sites in the Virú Valley, Peru, are visible as pit clusters on dated versions of Google Earth. Compare these with earlier air photographs and Gordon Willey's famous survey of the 1940s, and we have a dated chronicle of looting events. This makes it possible to demonstrate that modern looting is certainly taking place and linked to an upsurge in the antiquities trade. As well as being a new instrument for managing heritage, the author shows that the looting survey offers an important research dividend: the location of cemeteries not previously systematically documented, with potential for more thorough investigation even of already looted areas.

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