ICPEA members examine looter pits during a May 2011 expedition to Egypt.
Just after the January 2011 revolution in Egypt, when reports of mass looting of key archaeological sites started flooding in to the archaeological community, the International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities (ICPEA), led by The Capitol Archaeological Institute at The George Washington University, released a “call to action” requesting the U.S. government to take proactive measures to prevent U.S. citizens from inadvertently supporting these criminal activities by purchasing looted antiquities.
The call to action released in 2011 urged immediate action to protect Egyptian antiquities, important sites, and cultural heritage so that significant archaeological artifacts and irreplaceable historic objects would be preserved.
Protection of heritage will not only preserve valuable historic data but also help the Egyptian economy in the wake of a political revolution. Such an initiative will also help stem illicit international crime organizations that have links to money laundering, human trafficking, and the drug trade.