Some participants in the illicit antiquities trade are more equal than others.
For every good that is subject to governmental regulation, there is a corresponding underground economy.' Archaeological materials are no exception to this rule. Antiquities have been heavily sought after and collected since Roman times. As the trade of antiquities becomes more global and sophisticated, so does the corresponding underground economy.
The global antiquities trade has been referred to as a "grey market," because it is not distinctively "black" or "white." Many antiquities are discovered through illicit excavations and transported to the country of their final purchaser through illicit exportation.' Although the majority of antiquities transactions are illicit,' the face of the global antiquities trade-auction houses and sophisticated art dealers-gives the industry a "patina of legitimacy."
Alderman, Kimberly L. and Dahm, Chelsey S.
"National Treasure: A Comparative Analysis of Domestic Laws Criminalizing Illicit Excavation and Exportation of Archaeological Objects,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 65:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol65/iss2/4