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Conflict antiquities and conflicted antiquities: addressing commercial sales of legally excavated artefacts

Abstract

When the antiquities trade is discussed in archaeology it is often prefixed with the pejorative adjective ‘illicit’. ‘Archaeology without context’ is a rallying cry for the archaeological profession to mobilise its collective voice in order to petition against the sale of heritage where an object's history is opaque and very probably a result of destructive looting (Chippindale et al.2001; Brodie 2006). The vocal campaign of the last decade to ensure that high-profile sales and museum acquisitions of material without documented collection histories do not encourage or sanction looting (e.g. Renfrew 2000; Brodie et al. 2006) has had some success, although objects without findspots continue to surface on the market

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