Advertisement

Cultural Heritage Offences in Latin America: Textile Traffickers, Mummy Mailers, Silver Smugglers, and Virgin Vandals

  • Donna YatesEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores crimes related to the looting, trafficking, and illicit sale of cultural objects from Latin America. After a brief summary of the market for Latin American antiquities, the nature of crimes against those antiquities, and the policy that is meant to regulate the situation, four contemporary case cultural heritage crime case studies from the Andes are discussed: trafficking of ancient textiles, the trade in mummified human remains, the theft of colonial silver, and sacred art theft. The chapter concludes with a call for market reduction and context-specific, targeted responses to threats to Latin American cultural heritage.

Keywords

Latin America Andes Trafficking Illicit antiquities Cultural property 

Bibliography

  1. Angeles Falcon, R., & Pozzi Escot, D. (2005). The archaeological project of Huaca Malena. L.I.C News: Working Group on Legal Issues in Conservation, pp. 6–9.Google Scholar
  2. AP. (2013, August 26). Sacred art stolen from Andean churches. The Telegraph. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085036/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10267122/Sacred-art-stolen-from-Andean-churches.html.
  3. Bator, P. (1981). The international trade in art. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. BBC. (2013, July 26). Bolivia: Detienen a sacerdote por robo de joyas a la Virgen de Copacabana. BBC Mundo. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085033/http://www.bbc.com/mundo/ultimas_noticias/2013/07/130725_ultnot_bolivia_sacerdote_robo_joyas_jrg.
  5. Blumenthal, R. (2014, June 5). Sweden returns ancient Andean textiles to Peru. The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160321162624/http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/05/sweden-returns-ancient-andean-textiles-to-peru/?_r=5.
  6. Camps, S. (2011, May 28). Frenaron el contrabando de una momia y tres calaveras. Clarin. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20110825070310/http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/titulo_0_488951279.html.
  7. Charca, H. R. (2015, August 4). Cierran el case de robo a Virgen de Copacabana. La Prensa. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085037/http://www.laprensa.com.bo/diario/actualidad/seguridad/20150804/cierran-el-caso-de-robo-a-virgen-de-copacabana_69305_116903.html.
  8. Chase, A., Chase, D., & Topsey, H. W. (1988). Archaeology and the ethics of collecting. Archaeology, 41(1), 58–87.Google Scholar
  9. Chavez León, D. (2015, May 6). Tacna: Profanaron más de 250 tumbas de cementerio prehispánico. Correo. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20150804125733/http://diariocorreo.pe/ciudad/tacna-profanaron-mas-de-250-tumbas-de-cementerio-prehispanico-585254/.
  10. Coggins, C. (1969). Illicit traffic of pre-Columbian antiquities. Art Journal, 29(Autumn), 94–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coggins, C. (1976). New legislation to control the international traffic in antiquities. Archaeology, 29(1), 14–15.Google Scholar
  12. Coggins, C. (1998). United states cultural property legislation: Observations of a combatant. International Journal of Cultural Property, 7(1), 52–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Correo. (2015, May 4). Desconocidos profanan tumbas prehispánicas y roban momias de ‘Huaca (FOTOS). Correo. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160208041614/http://diariocorreo.pe/ciudad/desconocidos-profanan-tumbas-prehispanicas-y-roban-momias-de-huaca-fotos-584878/.
  14. Dwyer, J. P. (1979). The chronology and iconography of paracas-style textiles. In A. P. Rowe, E. P. Benson, & A.-L. Schaffer (Eds.), The Junius B. Bird Pre-Columbian Textile Conference, May 19th and 20th, 1973 (pp. 105–128). Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks.Google Scholar
  15. Fuenzalida, V. H. (1957). Historia del Hallazgo, La Momia del Cerro el Plomo. Boletin del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Tomo XXVII(1), 3–8.Google Scholar
  16. Gilgan, E. (2000). Archaeological heritage management in Belize: A case study. Master’s dissertation, Boston University Department of Archaeology.Google Scholar
  17. Gilgan, E. (2001). Looting and the market for maya objects: A Belizean perspective. In N. Brodie, J. Doole, & C. Renfrew (Eds.), Trade in illicit antiquities: The destruction of the world’s archaeological heritage (pp. 425–442). Cambridge: McDonald Institute.Google Scholar
  18. Gutchen, M. A. (1983). The destruction of archaeological resources in Belize, Central America. Journal of Field Archaeology, 10, 217–227.Google Scholar
  19. Howell, C. L. (1992). Daring to deal with huaqueros. Archaeology, 45(3), 56–58.Google Scholar
  20. Iglesia Viva. (2011, October 12). La Paz: Robo en iglesia de Tiwanaku. Iglesia Viva. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085025/http://www.antiguo.iglesiaviva.net/ultimas/497-la-paz-robo-en-iglesia-de-tiwanaku.html.
  21. Karlzén, K. (2010). Cultural property and claims for repatriation. Master’s Dissertation, Göteborgs Universitet.Google Scholar
  22. La Razón. (2012, November 5). Mafias de traficantes operan en Bolivia. La Razón. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085030/http://www.larazon.com/index.php?_url=/suplementos/informe/Mafias-traficantes-operan-Bolivia_0_1716428485.html.
  23. Linared, I. (2013, April 28). Los tesoros de la Virgin cerecen de seguro antirrobo. La Razón. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085032/http://www.la-razon.com/la_revista/tesoros-Virgen-carecen-seguro-antirrobo_0_1822617812.html.
  24. Martin, S. (1993). Site Q: The case for a classic maya super-polity. Mesoweb. Retrieved March, 21, 2016, from http://www.mesoweb.com/articles/martin/SiteQ-OCR.pdf.
  25. Matsuda, D. (1998). Subsistence digging in and around Belize. Doctoral dissertation, Union Institute.Google Scholar
  26. Matthews, P. (1979). Notes on the inscriptions of site Q. Unpublished Report.Google Scholar
  27. Meyers Breeze, C. (2008). A Peruvian-American conservation collaboration. Textile Specialty Group Postprints, 18, 88–99.Google Scholar
  28. Nuevo Herald. (2012, November 6). Bolivia devuelve a Perú momia prehispánica. El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160323085042/http://www.elnuevoherald.com/ultimas-noticias/article2018798.html.
  29. Paredes Maury, S (1999). Surviving in the rain forest: The realities of looting in the rural villages of El Petén, Guatemala. FAMSI Reports. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://www.famsi.org/reports/95096/95096ParedesMaury01.pdf.
  30. Peruvian Times. (2011, July 6). Garcia surprises Sweden with plan for legal action to recover Paracas textiles. The Peruvian Times. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160321164345/http://www.cultureindevelopment.nl/News/Discussing_Looting/1165/Garcia_surprises_Sweden_with_plans_for_legal_action_to_recover_Paracas_textiles.
  31. Proulx, D. A. (2008). Paracas and Nasca: Regional cultures on the south coast of Peru. In H. Silverman & W. H. Isbell (Eds.), Handbook of south American archaeology (pp. 563–585). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Robertson, M. G. (1972). Monument thievery in Mesoamerica. American Antiquity, 37(2), 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. RPP. (2014, April 9). Piden hasta 15 años de prisión por atentar contra patrimonio cultural. RPP Noticias. Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160322143149/http://rpp.pe/politica/actualidad/piden-hasta-15-anos-de-prision-por-atentar-contra-patrimonio-cultural-noticia-683345.
  34. Sheets, P. D. (1973). The pillage of prehistory. American Antiquity, 38(8), 317–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sipse. (2014, June 14). Hasta 10 años de cárcel a quien dañe monumentos históricos. Sispe. Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160322142747/http://sipse.com/mexico/preven-fuertes-sanciones-a-quien-dane-monumentos-artisticos-o-arqueologicos-de-mexico-96384.html.
  36. Solar, I. I. (2010, October 27). Woman arrested while attempting to mail a mummy by parcel post. Digital Journal. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from https://web.archive.org/web/20170414125709/http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299467.
  37. Tello, J. (1959). Paracas: Primera Parte. Publicación del Proyecto del Programa 1941-1942 de The Institute of Andean Research de New York. Lima: Empresa Gráfica T. Scheuch, S.A.Google Scholar
  38. Trulsson, N. (2012). Stulet Kulturarv? Master’s Dissertation, Lunds Universitet.Google Scholar
  39. Universa. (2007, May 18). Por el Dia de los Museos se buscara rescatar la Huaca Malena. Universa.Google Scholar
  40. Washington Times. (2005, July 26). Colonial artwork stolen in 2002 returned to Peru. The Washington Times. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://web.archive.org/web/20160321165203/http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/jul/26/20050726-113114-5091r/.
  41. Yates, D. (2006). South America on the block: The changing face of pre-Columbian antiquities auctions in response to international law. Master’s dissertation, University of Cambridge Department of Archaeology.Google Scholar
  42. Yates, D. (2014a). Displacement, deforestation, and drugs: Antiquities trafficking and the narcotics support economies of Guatemala. In J. Kila & M. Balcells (Eds.), Cultural property crimes: An overview and analysis on contemporary perspectives and trends (pp. 21–36). Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yates, D. (2014b). Church theft, insecurity, and community justice: The reality of source-end regulation of the market for illicit Bolivian cultural objects. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 20(4), 445–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yates, D. (2015a). Reality and practicality: Challenges to effective cultural property policy on the ground in Latin America. International Journal of Cultural Property, 22(2–3), 337–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yates, D. (2015b). Looting, trafficking, and sale of illicit cultural property from Latin America. In F. Demaris (Ed.), Countering illicit traffic in cultural goods: The global challenge of protecting the world’s heritage (pp. 33–46). Paris: ICOM.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GlasgowGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations