Looters regularly use explosives, grenades and rocket-launchers to steal treasures and frighten local populations, a conference on illegal trade in antiquities heard this week. Archaeologists from more than 20 countries met in Cambridge where they passed a resolution urging national legislation to protect cultural heritage.
They called on governments, museums and collectors to condemn the purchase of antiquities without documented provenance or history.
Reports from European and Latin American countries revealed a link between the illegal trade in antiquities, drugs and money laundering.
Researchers criticised auction houses, including Sotheby's and Christie's, for continuing to sell antiquities without provenance.