• University of Glasgow

Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime

Delve into the seedy underbelly of the art world, looking at smuggling, theft, fakes, and fraud, with this free online course.

45,161 enrolled on this course

Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

The devastation caused by the trafficking of illicit antiquities and the theft of art has gained widespread public attention in recent years.

Confronted with the pock-marked “lunar landscapes” of archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria, freshly decapitated Buddha sculptures in Cambodia and empty frames on the walls of museums, we face a difficult question: how do we protect our heritage from theft, illegal sale, and destruction?

In Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime we will tackle this question together.

Shed light on the grey market for stolen art

On this free online course, taught by researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Trafficking Culture Project, you will gain a better understanding of:

  • the criminal networks that engage in antiquities trafficking and art crime;
  • the harmful effects that these phenomena have on communities and society as a whole;
  • and what scholars, police, and lawmakers are doing to protect our heritage.

By combining cutting-edge research in the fields of criminology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, art history, museums studies, and law, we will shed light on the grey market for stolen art.

Learn how and why art is stolen, trafficked, found, and returned

In Week 1, we will track how ancient artefacts are looted from archaeological sites, trafficked across multiple international borders, and end up in the possession of some of the world’s most respectable museums and collectors.

In Week 2, we will learn about crimes of fine art: heists, fakes, and vandalism.

In Week 3, we will discuss the ethical, legal, and emotional issues associated with the return of stolen cultural objects.

Art and antiquities represent our collective cultural identity and crimes against art affect all of us. When an artefact is looted or an artwork is stolen, we have ALL been robbed. We must work together to protect our heritage before it is too late. Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime is a great first step.

If you want to find out more about the financial implications of art crime, have a look at this blog post from Meg Lambert: Does art crime pay? 5 stolen artefacts and what they sold for.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 22 seconds In recent years, the devastation caused by the theft of art and trafficking of antiquities has gained public attention. Confronted with images of vandals smashing museum pieces with sledge hammers in Iraq, the pockmarked lunar landscapes of looted archaeological sites in Syria and Peru, the freshly decapitated Buddhist sculptures in Cambodia, the empty frames of stolen paintings on museum walls, and the unravelling of communities at the loss of living representations of their gods from temples in South Asia and Latin America. We face a difficult question. How do we protect our heritage from theft, illegal sale, and destruction?

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds My name is Donna Yates. And I’m an archaeologist and art crime researcher at the University of Glasgow. Doing this free online course, my colleagues on the trafficking culture project and I invite you to shed some light on the black market for looted artefacts and stolen art. Together we’ll answer the big questions. Who owns the past? Who owns art? Who owns culture? Using tools from criminology, art history, archaeology, law, anthropology, and more, we will explore case studies in antiquity smuggling and art crime from around the world. Together we can come up with solutions to this global problem.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

Who is the course for?

All learners are invited to this course. No prior knowledge is required.

What do people say about this course?

"This has been a fascinating Course, enhanced by the discussions with other Learners who always seem to add a richness and diversity way beyond expectations."

"This was an amazing course! I connected areas of interest through the lens of social justice. Thank you for such a stimulating endeavor."

Who will you learn with?

learning.culturecrime.org

Archaeologist in a criminology department. I study antiquities smuggling, art crime, preservation of cultural heritage. Not your average antiquarian! Twitter: @DrDonnaYates

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

    1451
  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

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