Infographics 2018-02-27T21:01:09+00:00

Bilateral Agreements

Diplomatic Tools for Preserving Our Shared History

Bilateral Agreements (Memorandums of Understanding/ MOUs) between the United States and foreign governments are instrumental in combating cultural racketeering, urging mutual cooperation and providing technical assistance, financial support, and more. MOUs stop criminal activity at America’s borders and cut off a source of terrorist financing. They also promote scientific, educational, and cultural exchange through traveling exhibitions, museum loans, and research projects.

You can learn more from our Chairman and Founder Deborah Lehr, who has published a very informative article for Huffington Post on Cultural Memoranda of Understanding: An Important Diplomatic Tool for Protecting Heritage.

United States Bilateral Cultural Agreements

Bilateral agreements, or memorandums of understanding (MOUs), between demand (market) countries and supply (source) countries are effective tools in discouraging the illegal antiquities trade. MOUs are required to implement the 1970’s UNESCO convention on looted cultural property and are currently in effect with Belize, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Mali, Nicaragua, and Peru, in addition to emergency actions in place for Iraq, Syria and Libya. This geographical map of MOUs shows how widespread the problem of cultural racketeering is, and the diverse populations and heritage they affect.

Terrorist Financing

Conflict Antiquities: A Terrorist Financing Risk

The United States remains the world’s largest single market for arts and antiquities— 29.5% of the global total. However, it also remains highly unregulated — thus dangerously susceptible to trafficking, money laundering, and even terrorist financing. The money made from the sale of looted antiquities can fund a terror organization or terror attack 10 times over, which doesn’t begin to convey the cost of damage done to the history, people, and culture of the looted areas.

To learn more, read our blog post here.

Culture In Conflict: Where Can Daesh Get $1 Million?

A masterpiece from the cradle of civilization can bring as much as one million dollars on the international antiquities market. Terror Groups such as Daesh/ISIS are funding their destruction through the looting and trafficking of antiquities — and fetching a high price for them. One artifact can pay for thousands of weapons and ammunition at current black market prices. Conflict antiquities are being sold in America and Europe at competitive  market prices — and that money can fund terror organizations abroad.

To learn more about Where Daesh Can Get $1 Million read Katie A. Paul’s blog post.

More than Just Digging: Daesh Looting an Institutionalized Process

Daesh has created its own Department of Antiquities within the Diwan Al Rikaz (Office of Resources) and uses it to distribute permits for excavation and looting in lands they control. If artifacts are found, they are sold to the highest bidder through the looters, the Department of Antiquities, or even state-sponsored auctions in Raqqa, Syria — and Daesh gets a cut of the profits from each.

To learn more about how How Daesh Turns Illicit Digs Into Dollars read Katie A. Paul’s blog post.


Buyer Beware: Checklist for the Travel Souvenir Shopper

Antiquities looted from regions like South America, the Middle East and Europe don’t always end up on the high-end art market—they can also be peddled to unsuspecting travelers and tourists looking to bring a memento of their trip home. Areas in crisis are at great risk of  cultural racketeering, the looting and trafficking of antiquities by organized criminal groups for profit. Here are eight things to look for when buying an antiquity to make sure it’s not stolen property.

More helpful tips here!

How Databases #Combatlooting

Databases hold the key to combat all stages of antiquities looting and trafficking. These include theft, transport, laundering, and the final sale of looted works. Databases help authorities halt this process at each stage, giving them resources and identification of each  piece. Putting authorities and the market on the lookout for specific pieces  eliminates the payout for looters.

The Antiquities Coalition is proud to be a part of the Digital Library of the Middle East, for more information on this project, visit their website.


Impacts of Cultural Racketeering in Egypt since 2011

Egypt is one of the most archaeologically and historically rich nations in the world, and it     relies heavily on tourism to boost  their GDP. Since 2011 satellite imagery has discovered 17 new pyramids, 1,000 new tombs, and 3,100 ancient settlements. Since the revolution, however, tourism in Egypt has dropped to 6.7 percent of GDP, while looting has increased 500-1000%, costing the Egyptian government up to 3 billion dollars.

Our Fellow, Katie A. Paul has done significant research on Cultural Racketeering in Egypt, you can read more about her work here.

Impacts of Cultural Racketeering in Egypt since 2011

Cultural Heritage Law Matrix of the Middle East

Cultural heritage law can vary country by country. This infographic provides an overview of relevant laws for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — all of which require minimum jail time and fines for trafficking looted goods.

The Global Crisis of Cultural Racketeering

Cultural racketeering is especially prominent in poor countries or countries marred by conflict. The cost of trafficking looted works is not only monetary; it is felt by the home country and by all of us as a destruction of our shared heritage. Some examples of countries deeply affected by this trade are China, Egypt, Syria, Cambodia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, and Libya. In Syria alone losses to cultural racketeering are estimated at 2 billion dollars — with 2,000 years of history destroyed.

Cultural Racketeering Infographic