Thursday, July 12, 2012

Looting in Albania

Albania, lying on the Adriatic midway between the Classical civilizations of Greece and Rome is rich in archaeological sites of both cultures, and these in turn contain the sorts of artefacts most sought on the international dugup artefacts market. The archaeological sites of Albania have therefore attracted the interest of treasure hunters, who experts say are getting increasingly sophisticated in their illegal trade, while the authorities remain one step behind. As a result looters hunting for artefacts and gold are devastating Albania's archaeological sites and in the past two decades have wrought terrific damage to the country's historical patrimony.

The theft of antiques became rampant in Albania in the 1990s, as the country struggled through a period of anarchy and lawlessness following the collapse of the authoritarian Communist regime. Though the situation has since improved, experts say theft from archaeological sites continues to be a problem.