Special Issue "Art and Antiquities Crime"

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408). This special issue belongs to the section "Artistic Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Damien Huffer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: osteoarchaeology; archaeological science; art crime; antiquities trade; digital humanities; machine learning/computer vision; museology; ethics; social media studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Heritage focused on art and antiquities crime is centered around the research presented within the first workshop of a three-part series entitled “Changing Hands, Changing Meanings: Researching Cultural Heritage Trafficking in the Nordic Region”, funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  The workshop, entitled “Investigating and Policing Antiquities Trafficking and Forgery in a Digital Age”, was held at Stockholm University from the 25–26 April 2019. While some contributions to this Special Issue will come from presentations at the workshop itself, others will come from researchers actively engaged in related research.

The global licit and illicit trade in antiquities of all types, including prehistoric and historic archaeological artifacts, texts, human remains, rare books, and so on, continues to grow and shift in today’s increasingly digital world. The existence of these ever-evolving markets therefore continues to threaten humanity’s shared heritage and what can be known about the past through archaeological and epigraphic research. Furthermore, the creation of forgeries of numerous categories of artefact and text continue to elude detection and trick scholars, as techniques become ever more sophisticated and forgers can more readily access academic research and use it to their advantage. Once thought to be the key to suppressing or disrupting antiquities markets, it no longer appears that this is the case. In addition, the supply and demand for antiquities have moved beyond eBay and high-end auction houses, with markets today flourishing on other poorly policed e-commerce platforms and, even more problematic, social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, as well as the possibility of antiquities trafficking on the “Dark Web”—an especially difficult platform to monitor. Many such platforms have “terms of service” that allegedly bar users from participating in illicit activities, but these are poorly enforced. The global legal landscape is also uneven, and the digital realm has proven to be very challenging to legislate.

In relation to the above, this Special Issue seeks contributions that include the following:

  • Research that details the challenges faced in policing antiquities trafficking and forgery across e-commerce platforms and social media, from either an academic or practitioner perspective.
  • Research that details best practice for antiquities trafficking and forgery investigation and prevention, especially when dealing with digital data. The research presented can be quantitative (presenting new robust analyses of large datasets) or qualitative (contextualized investigation of case studies).
  • Research detailing the categories of data that Nordic and international law enforcement prioritizes when investigating cases, as well as research detailing and explaining what academic and scientific research can reliably provide to law enforcement.

Dr. Damien Huffer
Guest Editor

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. Heritage 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) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
“Still covered in sand.looked very old.”—Legal Obligations in the Internet Market for Antiquities
Heritage 2019, 2(3), 2311-2326; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2030142 - 06 Aug 2019
The global internet antiquities market exists in a complex cultural heritage framework, comprised of international law and domestic legislation. In this paper, the questions I seek to answer are the following: how do internet antiquities dealers engage with their legal obligations, and how [...] Read more.
The global internet antiquities market exists in a complex cultural heritage framework, comprised of international law and domestic legislation. In this paper, the questions I seek to answer are the following: how do internet antiquities dealers engage with their legal obligations, and how is this engagement translated to the ethics of their businesses? This paper presents a comparative examination of 45 antiquities dealers split across three categories—internet dealers, eBay dealers and social media dealers—revealing three key insights about the internet antiquities market: firstly, that the level of legal literacy in the market is depicted as being quite poor; secondly, that the performance of legal awareness does not always correspond with ethical dealer practices; and finally, some dealers utilise a suite of justifications for their behaviours, practices and values (known as neutralisation techniques) to undermine their legal obligations. Such results confirm existing claims of the failure of self-regulation in the internet antiquities market and reveal a demand for educational campaigns targeted at raising consumer awareness by challenging misleading market narratives and highlighting the ethical and legal issues involved with the trade of cultural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art and Antiquities Crime)
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