Cambodia's red list of artifacts

Cambodia has published a red list of artefacts aimed at stemming the looting of artefacts from the country, to be distributed to museums, auction houses and border checkpoints. You can help, too, by supporting local businesses when in Cambodia and not buying marketplace antiquities!

New List Aims to Stem Tide of Cambodian Stolen Antiquities
VOA News, 02 Mar 2010

The items on the Red List range from jewelry and weapons to stone heads and bronze statues. The brochure lists beads from more than 2,000 years back and wooden items from just a century ago.

It is, in short, a comprehensive time capsule of Cambodian artistic achievement.

Douglad O’Reilly is the director of Heritage Watch, an organization set up to combat the plunder of Cambodia’s cultural heritage. O’Reilly says the problem of looting is widespread.

“I think that the problem is fairly substantial. We are finding that in rural areas there is quite a lot of activity. There has been, since about 2000, a significant amount of heritage destruction at archaeological sites that date especially to the period from 500 BC to 500 AD,” he said. “So people are excavating illegally a lot of cemetery sites in the search for carnellian and agate beads and glass beads and other artifacts.”

O’Reilly applauds the idea behind the Red List, saying it has the potential to reduce dramatically the number of items being smuggled across the border — as long as the brochures printed in Khmer and Thai actually reach the officials at the border posts.

Read more about the red list here.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

1 thought on “Cambodia's red list of artifacts”

  1. Cambodia is beautiful, we have been there last month when we came back from turkey. Beautiful country and lots of archaeological things to discover there.

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