Bel Trew, Tripoli
British antiquities experts are calling for an international body to investigate and repatriate stolen artefacts to counter the looting and sale of antiquities from the Middle East.
The pillaging of archaeological sites and museums as well as illicit digging has surged in the security breakdown that followed the 2011 Arab Spring, becoming a multibillion-pound trade.
Satellite imagery of areas in countries such as Egypt and Syria now shows pock-marked landscapes, where opportunist thieves, including jihadist groups such as Islamic State, have dug for treasures to be sold on international markets.
Neal Spencer, keeper of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum, said that the only way to try to stop antiquities trafficking, and with it the destruction of ancient sites and thefts from museums, was for better international co-operation and the creation of a full database of objects.
“Archaeologists, museums, law enforcement bodies and reputable art dealers and auction houses must collaborate to create an open, transparent and freely accessible online platform to trace objects moving around,” he told The Times.
Read full article here: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/antiquities-experts-call-for-war-on-isis-looting-3xz5d59lt
PHOTO: DOMINIQUE DERDA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES