AAA President's Statement on Looting

(July 15, 2003)

AAA President Don Brenneis issued the following statement on looting:

"The American Anthropological Association (AAA) condemns the looting of archaeological sites in Iraq and around the world. However, the AAA does not support the use of violence as a means to stop looting. Iraq's cultural heritage is being stolen at the hands of looters and those who buy artifacts for personal gain. Looting of archaeological sites is a continuing worldwide problem that persists because of existing markets for illegally begotten artifacts, antiquities and other materials. The trafficking of looted artifacts only benefits those who loot and sell them. It hurts everyone else.

The AAA supports non-violent means to stop looting of archaeological sites and the national and international trafficking of looted artifacts and materials. These include cooperation among nations in regulating and enforcing laws that prohibit looting of archaeological sites and the trafficking of looted materials and bringing to justice those who loot, buy and sell illegally begotten goods, and public education efforts. Looting and trafficking of looted artifacts will only end when individuals, communities, states, nations and world bodies recognize the collective losses suffered from the marketing of illegally gained cultural heritage and work together to put an end these practices."

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