On 12 May, the RAND Corporation in the US published a research report which begins by saying that the illicit antiquities market has become an area of concern for policymakers. It is fuelled by a well-documented rise in looting at archaeological sites and a fear that the proceeds of such looting may be financing terrorism or rogue states. The key findings are that the market size is smaller than often reported; the market structure varies widely, but it often appears ad hoc and opportunistic; the West is not the only end market for looted antiquities; and technology used in the looted antiquities trade is mostly unsophisticated. The report makes a number of recommendations, including increasing the perceived threat of surveillance on messaging and transaction platforms.
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