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March 4, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2011: General B(a) CC Giovanni Pastore on "Archaeology and the Problem of Unauthorized Excavation in Italy"

In the Fall 2011 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, General B(a) CC Giovanni Pastore writes of "Archaeology and the Problem of Unauthorized Excavation in Italy":

The public follows, with growing and increasingly alarmed attention, news on the destruction of historic sites because of speculation, pollution and even war. In contrast, little consideration is given to the rather serious state of danger in which the world’s archaeological heritage remains as a result of being the target of increasingly frequent episodes of looting at illegal excavations. 
In recent decades these depredations, due to the smuggling of archaeological material on the international arts market, have taken on such a scale that not even the specialists in this sector can assess the value of the losses with confidence. 
What is certain, however, is that the archaeological heritage of many regions of the world is constantly the subject of illegal activities involving not only the physical destruction of looted artifacts, but also the resulting loss of the rich heritage of historical information contained in those archaeological sites, destroyed by the violent action of the excavations themselves. 
The regions most severely affected by this phenomenon are in Central and South America, Italy, the Middle East, China and Turkey, while countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria increasingly report on looting at archaeological sites.

General B(a) CC Giovanni Pastore served as Vice- Commandant of the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage from 1995 until his retirement in 2011. During that time he was widely considered the world’s finest art policeman, Colonel Pastore commanded the twelve Carabinieri art police divisions within Italy. Pastore was trained at the elite military academy in Modena. He studied art history, law, and security, and excelled in horsemanship. Over his long career, he has been decorated with numerous medals both in Italy, including the equivalent of a knighthood, and by grateful nations abroad, in appreciation for his professional service. He is one of the founding trustees of ARCA.

You may read the complete article by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime.