Looted in Syria – and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis

06 Jul 2015 8:15 AM | Anonymous

Looted in Syria – and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis

When Mark Altaweel agreed to hunt for ‘blood antiquities’ in London dealerships, he was expecting more of a challenge. But as the archaeologist discovered, relics from the ruins of Palmyra and Nimrud are now on display in British shops – and so far no-one has worked out how to stop it

Mark Altaweel is surprised at how easy it is. A few hours into a hunt around London, the near-east specialist from the UCL Institute of Archaeology has uncovered objects that, he says, are “very likely to be coming from conflict regions” in Iraq and Syria. The items – pieces of early glass; a tiny statue; some fragments of bone inlay – range from the second to fourth centuries BC. Altaweel says they are so distinctive that they could only have come from a particular part of the region: the part now controlled by the so-called Islamic State. That we were able to find such items openly sold in London “tells you the scale – we’re just seeing the tail end of it,” he says.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/03/antiquities-looted-by-isis-end-up-in-london-shops