Friday, January 15, 2010

Looting, Police Work and the Italian MOU

The New York Times has reported looting is on the decline in Italy due to the Carabinieri's police work. See (noting that "the number of illegal archaeological excavations discovered in 2009 decreased dramatically, from 238 in 2008 to just 58 in 2009.").

Import restrictions on ancient artifacts from Italy (excluding coins) have been in place since 2001. Such restrictions (and their shifting of the burden of proof onto collectors, museums and dealers importing cultural goods) are meant to be a temporary measure to give the source country in question time to gain control of its looting problem.

With Italy's successes, one wonders why we are even talking about extending import restrictions under the Italian MOU. Hasn't the time come to again allow Americans to enjoy imported ancient artifacts from Italy ("documented" or not)-- just as fellow collectors do in the EU?

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