Sipán: A case-study of circumventing cultural property regulation


Last month the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime invited me to Vienna to present at a training session focused on illicit cultural property as an emerging criminal market. Following presentations from UNESCO and UNIDROIT, I was asked to provide some examples of how global cultural property regulatory measures are circumvented. I chose to speak about the trafficking of objects from the famous Peruvian site of Sipán, not only out of South America pride, but because I think the shocking nature of some of the Sipán trafficking stories really drive home the issues that we face. The gold artefact was smuggled into the USA in a diplomatic bag carried by the Consul General of Panama? Yeah. Good luck stopping that at the border.

Below is my presentation. Have a click through. I’d love to do more training sessions and guest teaching spots. I find it very rewarding to talk to people of diverse backgrounds and interests about these issues. For example the only time that someone has suggested to me that Otzi the iceman is contested cultural property was in Vienna.

If you have any questions, ask me on twitter or get in touch.