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date: 22 April 2021

Market for antiquities.locked

  • Erin Thompson


Arena in which artifacts from ancient cultures are obtained from archaeological sites and then bought and sold by dealers, museums, scholars, and private collectors. The market concentrates on artifacts regarded by buyers as artworks, including both objects created as art in antiquity, such as ancient Greek sculptures, and objects originally created for other uses which were re-categorized as artwork by modern buyers, such as Pre-Columbian funerary ceramics (seeCollection and Display of Classical Art).

A market for these objects existed in antiquity, with the first collectors of ancient Greek art, and the trade in ancient objects in the Western world continued to focus primarily on artwork from Greece and Rome until the 19th century. Subsequently, increasing access to other areas of the world, the changing tastes of private collectors, and expanding conceptions of the role of museums led to interest in obtaining antiquities from other cultures. Recently, concerns about the looting of archaeological sites to obtain antiquities that appear in the legal market with forged paperwork (...

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