Call for Abstracts: Investigating the trafficking of cultural objects


Society for American Archaeology Meeting
San Francisco, April 15-19, 2015

I’ve decided to/agreed to chair an SAA session on the trafficking of cultural objects. This is a bit late in the game because I have been away on fieldwork, but I think something good can come together. A number of my Trafficking Culture colleagues have already agreed to present but I thought it might be interesting to offer this up to the outside.

The draft of the session call is below (I’ll make it better when I am not so jetlagged). If anyone has a snappier title…

If you are interested, and can commit to being at the conference in April, please email me with a short (less than 200 word) abstract by Friday, 15 Aug. Next Friday. That way I can ruthlessly accept/reject…I mean sort out the session in advance of the 11 Sept deadline.

One other thing. Last year non-archaeologists were able to give papers at the SAA meeting without being an SAA member. They still had to pay for the conference of course, but membership was not required. I have asked for a membership waiver again for non-archaeologists and am waiting to hear back.

Understanding the trafficking of cultural objects: novel and interdisciplinary approaches

Significant advances have been made in curbing the trafficking of cultural objects and regulating the illicit trade in this material. By embracing a multidisciplinary approach, scholars, practitioners, governments, and stakeholders are increasingly able to move beyond ethical and theoretical debates towards empirical research and valuable data gathering and analysis. As cultural property researchers are drawing upon new technologies and methodologies developed in such diverse fields as archaeology, law, computer science, criminology, development studies, policing, sociology, and beyond novel approaches to the study and, ultimately, the disruption of the illicit trade in cultural objects are emerging.

We invite abstracts for papers about current multidisciplinary research into the illicit trafficking of cultural objects. Of particular interest are papers that focus on the use of new technologies to monitor either looting or the antiquities market, regulatory analysis and development, field work results, and applications of methodologies from outside archaeology to address this problem.