Special Issue "Advances in Art Crime Research (2018)"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Blythe Alison Bowman Balestrieri

Associate Professor, Criminal Justice Undergraduate Coordinator, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government & Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1003 W Franklin St (Criminal Justice Program moving to new building at the end of 2017), Richmond, VA 23284, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: transnational crime; antiquities trafficking; correctional law; inmate litigation
Guest Editor
Ms. Tess Davis, Esq.

Executive Director, The Antiquities Coalition, 1875 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: cultural racketeering; cultural property law; licit and illicit art markets; illicit trade in Cambodian antiquities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

International trafficking of illicit goods around the globe has steadily diversified, and transnational art crime is no exception. Illegal excavations and antiquities theft from sites around the world have marred archaeologically-rich landscapes to the point that they now resemble "swiss cheese"; countless other sites of historical, scientific, and cultural significance around the globe have been devastated; illegally-obtained cultural treasures continue to be regularly sold on the international art market; and even terrorist organizations have become involved plundering and selling cultural property to fund their activities.

The international scholarly open access journal Arts (ISSN 2076-0752) invites submissions for a Special Issue on the topic of "Art Crime". Appropriate topics include: art thefts and confiscations; faked and forged art; art fraud; art vandalism; illicit excavation and export of antiquities, artifacts, and other archaeological materials; cultural racketeering; transnational smuggling routes; terrorist involvement in the art and antiquities trade; museum security; emerging trends in art crime; trafficking in art and antiquities; art/antiquities protection and recovery.

We invite potential contributors to submit original articles on their research, whether theoretical or empirical, and both quantitative and qualitative approaches are welcome. Technical and/or field reports, short communications, as well as book reviews, will also be considered. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Blythe Alison Bowman Balestrieri, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA) and Tess Davis, Esq. (The Antiquities Coalition, Washington DC, USA) will serve as Guest Co-Editors for this Special Issue. Inquiries about the appropriateness of topics should be directed to: artsjournal@theantiquitiescoalition.org.

Dr. Blythe Alison Bowman Balestrieri
Ms. Tess Davis, Esq.
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • art crime
  • archaeological site looting
  • cultural property law
  • antiquities trafficking
  • cultural heritage protection

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Field Archaeologists as Eyewitnesses to Site Looting
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
In a recent worldwide study on the nature, scope, and frequency of archaeological site looting, the vast majority of field archaeologists reported having had multiple encounters with archaeological site looters both on- and off-site. Despite the criminalization of looting in most countries’ domestic
[...] Read more.
In a recent worldwide study on the nature, scope, and frequency of archaeological site looting, the vast majority of field archaeologists reported having had multiple encounters with archaeological site looters both on- and off-site. Despite the criminalization of looting in most countries’ domestic statutory schemes, nearly half of surveyed field archaeologists do not report looting activity to external law enforcement or archaeological authorities when they encounter it. The rationales for their actions—or inactions—are examined within a criminological framework, and field archaeologists’ perspectives on looters as “criminals” and “victims” are explored. The paper concludes with a consideration that the criminalization of looting creates an emergent duty to report among archaeologists, and how they choose to address site looting changes their role in and relationship to the trade in illicitly obtained antiquities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
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Open AccessArticle Metal-Detecting for Cultural Objects until ‘There Is Nothing Left’: The Potential and Limits of Digital Data, Netnographic Data and Market Data for Open-Source Analysis
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
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Abstract
This methodological study assesses the potential for automatically generated data, netnographic data and market data on metal-detecting to advance cultural property criminology. The method comprises the analysis of open sources that have been identified through multilingual searches of Google Scholar, Google Web and
[...] Read more.
This methodological study assesses the potential for automatically generated data, netnographic data and market data on metal-detecting to advance cultural property criminology. The method comprises the analysis of open sources that have been identified through multilingual searches of Google Scholar, Google Web and Facebook. Results show significant differences between digital data and market data. These demonstrate the limits of restricted quantitative analysis of online forums and the limits of extrapolation of market data with “culture-bound” measures. Regarding the validity of potential quantitative methods, social networks as well as online forums are used differently in different territories. Restricted quantitative analysis, and its foundational assumption of a constant relationship between the size of the largest online forum and the size of the metal-detecting population, are unsound. It is necessary to conduct extensive quantitative analysis, then to make tentative “least worst” estimates. As demonstrated in the sample territories, extensive analyses may provide empirical data, which revise established estimates. In this sample, they corroborate the detecting community’s own perception that they are ‘beat[ing these sites] to death’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
Open AccessArticle Art Vandalism and Guardianship in US Art Institutions
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 22 June 2018
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Abstract
Art crime scholars and art world professionals constantly grapple with determining the most effective methods by which to reduce and prevent victimization by art vandals. Despite the numerous accounts of this form of criminality, there is a dearth of empirical studies focused on
[...] Read more.
Art crime scholars and art world professionals constantly grapple with determining the most effective methods by which to reduce and prevent victimization by art vandals. Despite the numerous accounts of this form of criminality, there is a dearth of empirical studies focused on the security and care of art collections. Using Routine Activities Theory to guide the research, the present study explores the relationship between social and physical guardianship practices and the prevalence of art vandalism using questionnaire data collected from 111 American art museums and art galleries. The results indicate an overwhelming lack of association between the majority of the guardianship measures and vandalism victimization, a pattern consistent with the possibility that social and physical guardianship practices are not implemented until after an act of vandalism has already occurred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
Open AccessArticle Disentangling Strategic and Opportunistic Looting: The Relationship between Antiquities Looting and Armed Conflict in Egypt
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 19 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
Antiquities are looted from archaeological sites across the world, seemingly more often in areas of armed conflict. While this is not the only context in which antiquities are looted, it is an important context and one for which much is still unknown. Previously,
[...] Read more.
Antiquities are looted from archaeological sites across the world, seemingly more often in areas of armed conflict. While this is not the only context in which antiquities are looted, it is an important context and one for which much is still unknown. Previously, the relationship between antiquities looting and armed conflict has been assessed with qualitative case studies and journalistic evidence due to a lack of systematically collected data. This study considers the relationship between antiquities looting and armed conflict in Egypt from 1997 to 2014 with a newly collected time series dataset. Autoregressive Distributed Lag Models (ARDL) with a bounds testing approach are used to assess both the overall relationship between these two phenomena and their temporal ordering. This article finds that antiquities looting and armed conflict are, indeed, statistically related; and that antiquities looting more often precedes armed conflict rather than the other way around. This finding suggests that looting is more strategic than opportunistic. Implications and future directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
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Open AccessArticle Between Fakes, Forgeries, and Illicit Artifacts—Authenticity Studies in a Heritage Science Laboratory
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
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Abstract
Since its inauguration in 1888, the Rathgen Research Laboratory of the National Museums in Berlin has been challenged by authenticity questions on cultural heritage objects. In the setting of an ever-growing market, often intertwined with the increasing global impact of illicit traffic, scientific
[...] Read more.
Since its inauguration in 1888, the Rathgen Research Laboratory of the National Museums in Berlin has been challenged by authenticity questions on cultural heritage objects. In the setting of an ever-growing market, often intertwined with the increasing global impact of illicit traffic, scientific investigations can contribute equally to art-historical, or archaeological expertise when solving questions of authenticity, and should therefore always be included when significant values are at stake. Looted or stolen artifacts, copies, fakes, and forgeries have been an intrinsic element of the market since ever, and only selectively addressed in a trans-disciplinary, more holistic way. This paper makes the case for a reliable, state-of-the-art analysis and illustrates the potential benefits of such a scientific approach to authenticity questions in selected examples: 1. the case of German art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi; 2. brass objects of alleged Benin and Ife provenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
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Open AccessArticle Researching Cultural Objects and Manuscripts in a Small Country: The Finnish Experience of Raising Awareness of Art Crime
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
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Abstract
In this article we shed light on the position of Finland in conversations on the movement of unprovenanced cultural objects, within the national, the Nordic and the global contexts. Finland’s geopolitical position, as a “hard border” of the European Union neighbouring the Russian
[...] Read more.
In this article we shed light on the position of Finland in conversations on the movement of unprovenanced cultural objects, within the national, the Nordic and the global contexts. Finland’s geopolitical position, as a “hard border” of the European Union neighbouring the Russian Federation, and its current legislative provisions, which do not include import regulations, mean that it has the potential to be significant in understanding the movement of cultural property at transnational levels. In particular, we outline a recent initiative started at the University of Helsinki to kick-start a national debate on ethical working with cultural objects and manuscripts. We analyse exploratory research on current awareness and opinion within Finland, and summarize our current work to produce robust research ethics to guide scholars working in Finland. Although Finland has a small population and is usually absent from international discussions on the illicit movement of cultural property (save a few exceptions), we argue that it is still possible—and important—for scholars and others in Finland to affect policy and attitudes concerning art crime, provenance, and the role of stakeholders such as decision-makers, traders and the academy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
Open AccessArticle Ancient Artifacts vs. Digital Artifacts: New Tools for Unmasking the Sale of Illicit Antiquities on the Dark Web
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
Since the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as Daesh and ISIL) in 2014, antiquities have been a widely publicized source of funding for what has become one of the most technologically savvy terrorist organizations of the
[...] Read more.
Since the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as Daesh and ISIL) in 2014, antiquities have been a widely publicized source of funding for what has become one of the most technologically savvy terrorist organizations of the modern era. The globalization of technology and rise of popularity in cryptocurrencies has changed the face of black-market trade and the actors that carry out these crimes. While art and antiquities have long served as a market with susceptibilities to laundering, the emergence of Dark Web markets, identification-masking software, and untraceable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have opened new doors to potential vulnerabilities. The anonymity that is offered by these technologies acts as a roadblock for authorities, while attracting the likes of terrorists and transnational criminals. Investigative research using cyber security platforms to identify digital artifacts connected to potential traffickers provides the opportunity to unmask the seemingly untraceable actors behind these activities. The evidence of illicit antiquities trafficking on the Dark Web displayed in this article can generate a new discussion on how and where to study black-market antiquities to gain needed insight into combating the illicit trade online and the transnational criminal groups it may finance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
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