Bio: Oya Topçuoǧlu is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: Looting. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publications receiving 8 citations.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that the number of cylinder seals and coins sold on the Internet has increased steadily since 2011, reaching a peak in 2016-17, and that the trade in Iraqi and Syrian antiquities has shifted from big-ticket items sold in traditional brick-and-mortar shops to small items readily available on the internet for modest prices.
Abstract: Discussions about looted antiquities often focus on large, culturally and monetarily valuable items. Nevertheless, it is clear that mundane small finds, which sell for relatively small amounts, account for a large portion of the global market in antiquities. This article highlights two types of small artifacts—namely, cylinder seals and coins, presumed to come from Syria and Iraq and offered for sale by online vendors. We argue that the number of cylinder seals and coins sold on the Internet has increased steadily since 2011, reaching a peak in 2016–17. This shows that the trade in Iraqi and Syrian antiquities has shifted from big-ticket items sold in traditional brick-and-mortar shops to small items readily available on the Internet for modest prices. The continuing growth of the online market in antiquities is having a devastating effect on the archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria as increasing demand fuels further looting in the region.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that the current structure and ethos of the antiquities trade provides the conditions that are conducive to illegal excavation and the transfer of archaeological materials, even if inadvertently.
Abstract: The Syrian civil war exacted a massive toll on the country’s population, with hundreds of thousands of children, women, and men killed, injured, or forced to flee. Part and parcel of the human suffering is the widespread loss of artistic and historical materials—the deliberate and collateral destruction of artworks and monuments, mosques and marketplaces, books, artifacts, churches, synagogues, and archaeological sites. One aspect of this destruction, in particular, has generated vigorous debate among scholars, policymakers, and art market professionals: the intensive looting of archaeological sites by insurgent groups and their possible links to the antiquities trade. The war did not introduce site looting to the region, of course, and the antiquities trade did not endorse insurgent looting. But, for several reasons, the cultural loss from this war has attracted sustained media and scholarly attention. One important outcome of this attention is research investment. In the years since the world learned of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) campaign of cultural destruction, considerable efforts have been made by scholars and market professionals to separate myth from fact by prioritizing reliable data to piece together the complex components of the Syrian artifact pipeline. These efforts have already borne fruit, as numerous recent publications attest.1 Any attempt to situate the looting in the broader space of the art market, however, eventually hits the causal wall: does looting proliferate because the antiquities trade encourages it, even if inadvertently? In other words, is there something about the current structure and ethos of the trade that provides the conditions that are conducive to illegal excavation and the transfer of archaeological materials? How these questions get answered tells us about much more than one particular civil war; their answers—and the contentious grounds on which the questions are