Mackenzie and Davis on Looting in Cambodia

Feet of a looted statue, Koh Ker Cambodia
Feet of a looted statue, Koh Ker Cambodia

Simon Mackenzie and Tess Davis have put together an important new empirical study examining a trafficking network in Cambodia in an article appearing in the British Journal of Criminology. From the abstract:

Qualitative empirical studies of the illicit antiquities trade have tended to focus either on the supply end, through interviews with looters, or on the demand end, through interviews with dealers, museums and collectors. Trafficking of artefacts across borders from source to market has until now been something of an evidential black hole. Here, we present the first empirical study of a statue trafficking network, using oral history interviews conducted during ethnographic criminology fieldwork in Cambodia and Thailand. The data begin to answer many of the pressing but unresolved questions in academic studies of this particular criminal market, such as whether organized crime is involved in antiquities looting and trafficking (yes), whether the traffic in looted artefacts overlaps with the insertion of fakes into the market (yes) and how many stages there are between looting at source and the placing of objects for public sale in internationally respected venues (surprisingly few).

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