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Who We Are

The Antiquities Coalition is leading the global campaign against cultural racketeering: the looting and trafficking of ancient art. This illicit industry is financing organized crime, armed conflict, and violent extremism around the world.  It is erasing our past—and threatening our future. The Antiquities Coalition partners with leaders from the public and private sectors, tackles plunder-for-profit head on. Through independent research and outside collaborations, we develop and implement innovative and practical solutions, empowering communities and even countries in crisis. Together, with your help, we can stop the traffic in blood antiquities, and save our shared history for future generations.

The Problem

Cultural racketeering — the looting and trafficking of art and antiquities — is funding crime, conflict, and violent extremism around the world. This illegal industry often goes hand in hand with cultural terrorism, the deliberate and systematic destruction of targeted groups and their heritage. Currently, Daesh (ISIS) is engaged in both cultural racketeering and terrorism in Iraq and Syria, converting the Cradle of Civilization’s patrimony into weapons and troops whose atrocities destroy human life, culture, and history.

But Daesh is not alone: By purchasing an Egyptian papyrus, a Cambodian statue, or a Mayan vase on Madison Avenue, collectors may be putting money into the pockets of mafia syndicates, armed insurgents, and terrorist networks.

This is a global problem–it requires global solutions.

What We’ve Lost

 In this last year, we have lost entire chapters of our shared history, and some of the Cradle of Civilization’s most iconic masterpieces and sites, to plunder and iconoclasm.

Umayyad Mosque
Aleppo, Syria

Mausoleum of Mohammad Bin Ali
Palmyra, Syria

International Recognition

Sameh Shoukry
“Egypt is working alongside regional and international partners such as the Antiquities Coalition to stem the flow of stolen antiquities.”
Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Foreign Minister of Egypt
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General فيس بوك بالعربية
The Antiquities Coalition “provides a powerful example of what can be achieved through partnerships between governments and NGOs.”
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General
“The [Antiquities] Coalition, since its inception in March 2011, has shown great support and exerted utmost efforts to raise awareness and combat the looting and illegal trade of Egyptian antiquities and artifacts.”
Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, former Minister of Antiquities
“The Antiquities Coalition, UNESCO, and other organizations have already sounded the alarm, and the U.S. should leverage their insights, networks, and activism to stem the flow of funds to ISIS from this trade.”
Juan Zarate, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Latest From The Blog

The “Broken System” That Allows Antiquities Trafficking

March 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

In Part I, we recapped the details of the Nancy Wiener case so far. Part II offers an overview of the legitimate and illicit art markets, and the difficulty of separating the two when it comes to the sale and purchase of antiquities.

Contested Heritage: Monuments, Politics, And Memory In Asia

March 20th, 2018|0 Comments

The Antiquities Coalition’s Executive Director, Tess Davis, presented at Boston University Center for the Study of Asia’s seminar and forum, Contested Heritage: Monuments, Politics, and Memory in Asia, last Friday. Davis employed the infamous Koh Ker Warrior to exemplify the global battle over the illicit “blood antiquities” trade that continues today.

Dealing Dubious Artifacts: A Look Into The Criminal Probe Of New York v. Nancy Wiener

March 14th, 2018|0 Comments

This is the first of a four-part series that will recap the ongoing case of Nancy Wiener’s arrest for antiquities trafficking in the run-up to Asia Week 2018, held March 15-24 in New York. These posts will also offer commentary examining how dealers like Wiener could exploit loopholes, institutional gaps, and systemic flaws in order to carry out their illicit activities.

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