Panel: The Illicit Antiquities Trade and "Terrorist Finance": New Methods and Findings
(National Security & Homeland Security)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Picasso (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia
Panel Chairs:  Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Discussants:  Patty Gerstenblith, DePaul University

Antiquity Market Estimates and the Problem for Policymakers
Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia

Systematic looting at archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria, along with increased evidence of a relationship between antiquities trafficking and political instability, have made antiquities a key international policy issue. Media headlines in 2014 and 2015 suggested millions, if not billions, of dollars in income for ISIS alone through the looting and sale of archaeological artifacts. None of these figures, however, has been supported by reliable evidence. In sum, the core problem for researchers is limited data. The illicit antiquities trade is inherently opaque, as trade participants seek to mask their activities. Tracing commodity chains and estimating insurgent income streams are important analytical tasks, but limited data requires creative solutions. The proposed panel brings together scholars, practitioners, and policy analysts to discuss what we know about this phenomenon and how we can manage uncertainties to produce high-quality, systematic research with reliable insights for policy work. Each member of the panel has been involved in the study of the antiquities market prior to the Syrian conflict, and several have been involved in high-profile national discussions about policy solutions. Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, Director of the FBI's Art Theft Program, will serve as chair. Prof. Patty Gerstenblith, a distinguished expert in art law and former chair of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee in the State Department, will serve as discussant. The three presenters are experienced researchers on problems related to illicit revenue streams and antiquities: Hans-Jakob Schindler (Coordinator, ISIL (Dae’sh), Al-Qaida and Taliban Monitoring Team, United Nations Security Council ), Prof. Fiona Greenland (Department of Sociology, University of Virginia), and James Marrone (University of Chicago Department of Economics PhD; RAND Corporation).

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