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Part II Substantive Aspects, Ch.9 Theft and Illegal Excavation: Legal Principles for Protection of the Archaeological Heritage

Patty Gerstenblith

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Cultural Heritage Law

Edited By: Francesco Francioni, Ana Filipa Vrdoljak

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 January 2021

This chapter describes the detrimental effects of the international market in antiquities on the preservation of knowledge about the past. It examines the domestic laws adopted by States to control the retrieval of archaeological objects and to determine the ownership of such objects. Recognition of State ownership laws, which vest ownership of undiscovered antiquities in the State, is a crucial element for discouraging the looting of archaeological artefacts. The chapter then examines the international legal response, in particular the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, followed by the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen and Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. Finally, the United Nations Security Council has adopted sui generis resolutions to prevent trafficking of archaeological objects from Iraq and Syria and, in its most recent Resolution, trafficking in its broader context.

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