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May 7, 2009

Ebay is saving the looted antiquities market

Posted at 12:15 pm in Similar cases

Following on from the fact that Ebay was a major trader in looted artefacts a few years ago, in a strange twist, it seems that the vast numbers of forgeries on ebay is actually killing off the market in looted antiquities.


eBay is saving archeology by killing the antiquities market
How could a service that makes it easier to move looted material cut down on the looting? By making forgeries even easier to move.
By John Timmer | Last updated May 5, 2009 8:44 PM CT

By any reasonable analysis, eBay should have been a nightmare for archaeologists, allowing looted goods a new outlet, one that eliminated any cloak-and-dagger aspects of the illicit trade in antiquities by allowing the trade to flourish in plain sight, hidden by the anonymity of users’ accounts and the sheer volume of goods changing hands. But, according to at least one archaeologist who specializes in the civilizations of pre-Columbian South America, that hasn’t been the case at all. Instead, by swamping the market with fakes, eBay has made forgery a far more lucrative business, and destroyed the economics of looting.
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