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The widespread looting of beads is becoming a problem in Thailand’s Chumphon province, where archaeological beads can fetch a high price and the monitoring of such activities can be hard to track.

Looted beads from Chumphon province, Bangkok Post 20121208

Looted beads from Chumphon province, Bangkok Post 20121208

Bead rush reveals dark deals
Bangkok Post, 08 December 2012

The discovery of ancient beads and artifacts in Khao Sam Kaeo of Chumphon’s Muang district has opened up a treasure trove of immense historical and tangible value, and has also triggered a “bead rush”.

However, this bead rush has raised serious concerns over the protection of these antiquities.

One of the stunning discoveries took place in March this year when a sizeable piece of metal about half a metre in diameter was found during a sand-dredging operation in the Tha Ta Pao canal close to Khao Sam Kaeo.

The crew of a dredging barge had stumbled on an ancient metal disc which was stuck in the sand dredger.

The crew later sold the metal item to an antique trader. Fine Arts Department officials came across the disc and recognised its value. The department then bought the disc and examined it more closely.

Full story here.

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