Drugs, Arms, and Arrowheads: Theft From Archaeological Sites and the Dangers of Fieldwork
Blythe Bowman Proulx
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, November 2011, Pages 500-522
This article presents findings from a recent worldwide study of archaeological site looting, which largely fuels the international trade in illicitly obtained antiquities. Focused on practicing archaeologists’ opinions about and personal experiences with site looting, the study surveyed 2,358 archaeologists excavating throughout the world in 118 countries. Key findings presented here include archaeologists’ reports of connections between archaeological site looting and the production of and trade in methamphetamine across the United States. American archaeologists report run-ins with “meth heads” on their sites with increasing frequency. Other archaeologists working throughout the world report violent encounters with looters on site, some of whom even report being shot at and assaulted by looters. Overall findings suggest that archaeological fieldwork has become an increasingly dangerous occupation around the world.