Cultural Heritage Vandalism and Looting: the Role of Terrorist Organizations, Public Institutions and Private Collectors

Leila A. Amineddoleh


The destruction and looting of cultural heritage in the Middle East by terrorist organizations is well-documented by social media and the press. Its brutality and severity have drawn international criticism as the violent destruction of heritage is classified as a war crime. Efforts have been made to preserve objects against bombing and destruction, as archaeologists and other volunteers safeguard sites prior to assault. There is also precedent for prosecuting heritage destruction via national and international tribunals. In term of looting, black-market antiquities provide a revenue stream for ISIS; therefore, efforts must be made to stop this harmful trade. Governmental agencies have taken actions to prevent funding through antiquities. Public institutions have a role in safeguarding looted works by providing asylum to them without fueling the black market. At the same time, private collectors must also not purchase any items from the black market. Through education and enforcement of legislation intended to protect cultural heritage, it may be possible to reduce the market for looted antiquities.

Słowa kluczowe

cultural heritage vandalism, terrorism, collectors, museums, cultural objects

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