Digital technologies in the fight against illicit trafficking in antiquities and the looting of cultural heritage

Call for Papers

Michaela REINFELD (1) | Arianna TRAVIGLIA (2) | David WIGG-WOLF (1)
((1) Römisch-Germanische Kommission / (2) IIT Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology (CCHT@Ca’Foscari))

Keywords: illicit trafficking, looting, illegal trade networks, digital technologies

Call: Museums, research institutions, monument protection services and ministries, universities and law enforcement agencies have developed different strategies and methods to identify stolen artifacts, to prove illegal antiquities trade and to discover and monitor looting activities. Digital technologies are an increasingly important part of the work. They not only facilitate the collection and documentation of endangered cultural heritage they also allow a targeted search for stolen or commercially available objects as well as the identification of illegal excavations in the field.
The session is organized in the context of the H2020 NETcher project (NETwork and social platform for Cultural Heritage Enhancing and Rebuilding) and aims to connect researchers, institutions and authorities who are committed to the fight against the illegal trade in antiquities.
For this reason, we look forward to contributions from law enforcement authorities, police, academics and young researchers on the topics:

  • Artificial intelligence / machine learning for the search of stolen or illegally traded artifacts
  • Digital technologies for the virtual preservation of endangered cultural heritage (e.g. 3D scanning or photo modelling of objects)
  • Databases for the documentation of endangered or stolen cultural heritage
  • Remote sensing for the discovery and monitoring of looting
  • Tools for identifying and tracking illegal trade networks on the internet or social networks
  • Other digital technologies to research and fight against illicit trafficking in antiquities

Submission (open April 15, 2020)
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