Green Saharas, Grey Markets: Commercial Exploitation of North African Prehistory, an Overview
The collection-driven destruction of the archaeological record by artefact hunters not only threatens to obliterate part of the world’s cultural heritage, but also profoundly affects our ability to understand the human past of the region. This text takes a preliminary look at the material and archaeological consequences of a little-known aspect of the antiquities market, the gathering of surface finds to fuel the online collectors’ market in ancient lithic tools. It attempts to characterise the dynamics and effects of this commerce on the basis of a survey of the internet trade in Stone Age artefacts from North Africa and how they reach and are spread in the market countries. It demonstrates that the effects of these activities are having a devastating effect on parts of the archaeological record of the source countries.
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