“More than ever, the illicit trafficking and marketing of antiquities is putting at risk the preservation and valorization of cultural heritage. Addressing such relevant issues in the cultural context of Mesoamerica, this book provides fresh insights for understanding illegal or debatable treatment of cultural heritage.”—Davide Domenici, author of The Aztecs: History and Treasures of an Ancient Civilization
“Provides, in more detail than anything previously published, an eye-opening account of the damage caused by the trading and collecting of Mesoamerican antiquities, and the legal and ethical conundrums it poses.”—Neil Brodie, coeditor of Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade
Pre-Columbian artifacts are among the most popular items on the international antiquities market, yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor these items as public, private, and digital sales proliferate. This timely volume explores past, current, and future policies and trends concerning the sales and illicit movement of artifacts from Mesoamerica to museums and private collections. Informed by the fields of anthropology, economics, law, and criminology, contributors critically analyze practices of research and collecting in Central American countries. They assess the circulation of looted and forged artifacts on the art market and in museums and examine government and institutional policies aimed at fighting trafficking. They also ask if and how scholars can use materials removed from their context to interpret the past.
The theft of cultural heritage items from their places of origin is a topic of intense contemporary discussion, and The Market for Mesoamerica: Reflections on the Sale of Pre-Columbian Antiquities updates our knowledge of this issue by presenting undocumented and illicit antiquities within a regional and global context. Through discussion of transparency, accountability, and ethical practice, this volume ultimately considers how antiquities can be protected and studied through effective policy and professional practice.
Cara G. Tremain is an instructor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Langara College. Donna Yates is lecturer in antiquities trafficking and art crime at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow.