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The looting of ancient artifacts from the troubled regions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is an ongoing scandal. This film reveals the closely knit network of looters, smugglers, dealers, collectors and academics which encourages this illegal trade. The huge scale of the thefts of precious artworks like "magic" bowls from Mesopotamia and the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism, have led to police investigations in Britain, Norway and Afghanistan. Since the film was shown in Europe, one of the world's largest collectors, was forced to return some of the articles to their countries of origin.
Archaeolgist Dr. Erika Hunter had been studying artifacts from Iraq since the late 1980's. In the early 1990's she was offered a huge cache to study. She and Dr. Robert Knox, the Asia Curator at the British Museum, are seen trying to establish the provenance of the items, suspecting they had been stolen from the area near Peshawar. In the Bamiyan Valley, where the famous buddhas were destroyed, we see goatherds digging for antiquities which they can sell for what seems like fortunes to them. As much as academics argue about the provenance of the artifacts, they still want to study and write about them. It is impossible to stop the looting now.
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