The United Nations warns that cultural racketeering—the looting and trafficking of art and antiquities—is a multi-billion dollar illegal industry that funds crime, armed conflict, and violent extremist organizations like Daesh (also known as ISIS). But when compared to similar transnational crimes—from arms running, to drug smuggling, or even the illicit wildlife trade—there is much we still do not know. The demand for strong scholarship in this field is greater than ever.

The Antiquities Coalition Think Tank is filling this gap by bringing high quality, innovative, and results-oriented research to the world’s decision makers, especially those in the government and private sectors. We join forces with international experts to better understand the challenges facing our global heritage, while developing better solutions to protect it. We invite you to learn more below. 

The Latest

How to Control the Internet Market in Antiquities? The Need for Regulation and Monitoring

Policy Brief No. 3 July 2017 By Neil Brodie Illicit antiquities, some pilfered from war zones where jihadist groups operate,

How Can We Fund the Fight Against Antiquities Looting and Trafficking? A “Pollution” Tax on the Antiquities Trade

Policy Brief No. 2 December 2016 Lawrence Rothfield Almost every nation has laws against looting, smuggling, and trafficking in

How to End Impunity for Antiquities Traffickers: Assemble a Cultural Heritage Crimes Prosecution Team

Policy Brief No. 1 November 2016 By Ricardo "Rick" St. Hilaire In just the last decade, the Department of


The Antiquities Coalition unites a diverse group of experts in the global fight against cultural racketeering: the illicit trade in art and antiquities. This plunder for profit funds crime, armed conflict, and violent extremist organizations around the world—erasing our past and threatening our future. Through innovative and practical solutions, we fight cultural racketeering head on, empowering communities and countries in crisis.

One way we do this is through our Think-and-Do-Tank. With this virtual institution, launched in 2016, we are partnering with leaders in archaeology, business, law, security, and technology to conduct high quality research and put 

its lessons into action. Initially, the Think Tank will focus on Policy Briefs, concise and targeted documents that tackle critical and urgent issues. Importantly, these documents go beyond just describing the problem, to provide solution-oriented recommendations for addressing it. Subsequent Think Tank series will include case studies, examining preservation successes (or failures) and the lessons learned, as well as best practices papers. 

Together, these outputs will help governments, law enforcement agencies, the private sector, and other decision makers better understand the challenges facing our heritage, while developing better solutions to protect it. 


Ricardo St. Hilaire
Ricardo St. HilaireCultural Heritage Lawyer

Ricardo “Rick” St. Hilaire, Esq., CIPM is an attorney whose legal practice emphasizes cultural heritage, nonprofit, criminal, museum, and international law.

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Lawrence Rothfield
Lawrence RothfieldUniversity of Chicago

Lawrence Rothfield is associate professor at the University of Chicago, where he is currently directing a research initiative on illicit antiquities markets.

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Neil Brodie
Neil BrodieUniversity of Oxford

Neil Brodie is a Senior Research Fellow on the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project at the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology.

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