عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته.
UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK
Mark Altaweel is a Reader in Near Eastern Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology having held previous appointments and joint appointments at the University of Chicago, University of Alaska, and Argonne National Laboratory. Mark has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
His previous posts included studying the relationships between social and environmental systems in modern and ancient societies in a variety of regions throughout the world including in the Arctic, Near East, Southeast Asia, North America, Central Asia, and Indonesia. He was successful in brining nearly $3,000,000 worth of research funding in his first 7 years after finishing his PhD, leading many grants as a PI or Co-PI with collaborators from Economics, Anthropology, Archaeology, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Computer Science, and other fields. He helped to develop a variety of tools and computational methods that address the fields he has worked with, including developing free and open source tools used widely by researchers and the public. His honors and accolades include a “Best Paper” award at a 2005 conference, a “Pacesetter” research award in 2006 for computational tools developed, and an invited visiting appointment at an academic institution. In addition, Dr. Altaweel has visiting appointment at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. As an archaeologist, he has worked in five different countries in the Near East with his current work focused on Iraqi Kurdistan. He currently is on the editorial board of Social Science Computer Review and Iraq.
Some of Dr. Altaweel's previous research focused on understanding the relationship between social interactions with the environment using a complex system perspective. He has studied how human perceptions are shaped by and influence environmental change. Other research focused on developing remote sensing methods and spatial approaches to understanding landscape change in the present and past. Some of his funded research includes:
(i) Investigating how people walk in ancient cities and decisions they make in choosing routes within an urban context, including factors that shape movement choices such as metabolism and walking abilities.
(ii) Studying how past landscape change affected human decision-making and how social decisions influenced land use in different ecological zones.
(iii) Understanding how modern Arctic societies are coping with environmental change as caused by climate and land use change.
(iv) Applying text mining approaches to understand how social perceptions are shaped by environmental change.
(v) Conducting archaeological investigations to determine the role of land use and climate change on past societies.
(vi) Publishing and salvaging archaeological materials and information from sites threatened or destroyed by looting in Iraq.
(vii) My recent research has also focused on urbanisation in the ancient Near East and how quantitative models can be applied to understand why cities and settlements arose or declined in certain regions.
(viii) Another recent project focuses on imperialism and how states embark on empire building through different decision dynamics based on political and historical factors. We apply these techniques to the ancient Neo-Assyrian empire as our test case.
Dr. Altaweel takes an interdisciplinary perspective in his teaching philosophy and integrates a variety of methods and fields in his courses. He has taught courses on Near Eastern history and archaeology, GIS, remote sensing methods, computational modelling, social-ecological theory, and on land use and environmental change.
2011: Archaeological project conducted in Kurdistan, Iraq (near Sulaymaniyah). Work focuses on studying anthropogenic landscape change in the past using soil analysis, remote sensing, and archaeological survey. Work conducted with the University of Heidelberg.
2008-2010: Co-PI on archaeological documentation projected sponsored by the United States State Department with data collected focusing on ancient Mesopotamian sites in southern and northern Iraq. Work included training Iraqis on the use of archaeological survey methods and GPS. Project was conducted near Istanbul, Turkey and Amman, Jordan.
2006-2008: Co-PI on archaeological documentation projected sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities with data collected focusing on ancient Mesopotamian sites in southern and northern Iraq. Work included training Iraqis on the use of archaeological survey methods and GPS on archaeological sites in Jordan. Project work was conducted in Homs, Syria and Amman, Jordan.
2004-5: PI on archaeological data collection project for sites in northern Mesopotamia with data focused on surveys and excavations conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. Project included training Iraqis on the useof GPS and other survey techniques on sites in Jordan. Project conducted in and near Amman, Jordan.
2003: Archaeological site damage assessment survey in Iraq sponsored by National Geographic Society (see October 2003 issue of National Geographic). Conducted near Baghdad, Mosul, and Samarra, Iraq.
هذا ثبت بجميع ما تم نشره وطبعه للدكتور الطويل لحد الآن
Altaweel, M., Paulette, T. (2013). Modeling nomad-sedentary interactions. In Wilkinson, T.J., Gibson, M., Widell, M. (Eds.), Models of Mesopotamian Landscapes: How Small-Scale Processes Contribute to the Growth of Early Civilizations. (pp. 204-218). Archaeopress.
Wilkinson, T.J., Christensen, J., Altaweel, M., Widell, M. (2013). Output from the agent-based modeling program. In Wilkinson, T.J., Gibson, M., Widell, M. (Eds.), Models of Mesopotamian Landscapes: How Small-Scale Processes Contribute to the Growth of Early Civilizations. (pp. 177-204). Archaeopress.
Branting, S., Wilkinson, T.J., Christiansen, J., Widell, M., Hritz, C., Ur, J., ...Altaweel, M. (2013). The 'external economy': Networks and trade.. In Wilkinson, T.J., Gibson, M., Widell, M. (Eds.), Models of Mesopotamian Landscapes: How Small-Scale Processes Contribute to the Growth of Early Civilizations. (pp. 140-152). Archaeopress.
Hamza, H. (2011). Tell Muhammad: The Eighth Season of Excavations. (M. Altaweel Trans.). In Miglus, P., Muhl, S. (Eds.), Between the Cultures: The Central Tigris Region from the Third to the First Millennium BC. (pp. 405-416). Heidelberg: Heidelberg OrientVerlag.
Outcry over Isis destruction of ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud
Militants’ latest assault in Iraq described as war crime by Unesco and condemned as part of systematic campaign to erase millennia of culture
Activists, officials and historians have condemned Islamic State (Isis) for the destruction of the ancient Assyrian archaeological site of Nimrud in Iraq, with Unesco describing the act as a war crime.
“They are not destroying our present life, or only taking the villages, churches, and homes, or erasing our future – they want to erase our culture, past and civilisation,” said Habib Afram, the president of the Syriac League of Lebanon, adding that Isis’s actions were reminiscent of the Mongol invasion of the Middle East.
Iraq’s tourism and antiquities ministry said on Thursday that Isis had bulldozed the ancient city, south of Mosul, which was conquered by the militants in a lightning advance last summer.
“Daesh terrorist gangs continue to defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity,” the ministry said, using the group’s Arabic acronym.
“In a new crime in their series of reckless offences, they assaulted the ancient city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy machinery, appropriating the archaeological attractions dating back 13 centuries BC,” it said.
The destruction of the site, which became the capital of the Neo-Assyrian empire, was confirmed by a local tribal source speaking to Reuters.
“I condemn with the strongest force the destruction of the site at Nimrud,” Irina Bokova, the head of Unesco, said in a statement. Bokova said she had spoken with the heads of the UN security council and international criminal court on the issue.
“We cannot remain silent,” Bokova said. “The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime. I call on all political and religious leaders in the region to stand up and remind everyone that there is absolutely no political or religious justification for the destruction of humanity’s cultural heritage.”
Nimrud was first excavated in the 1840s by the British explorer Austen Henry Layard, who unearthed the winged bull gatekeeper statues later sent to the British Museum. The site also contains the palace of Ashurnasirpal, the king of Assyria.
Many of the site’s relics are in the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and other reliefs, wall paintings, clay tablets and ivory furniture recovered in the 1950s and 60s are in Iraq’s national museum in Baghdad, said Augusta McMahon, senior lecturer on Mesopotamia and the ancient near east at Cambridge, and who has carried out excavations in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.
But the Nimrud site itself still hosts large numbers of reliefs and winged bull statues left in their original locations, and the palace grounds were reconstructed by the Iraqi government in the 1970s and 80s, said McMahon, adding that the winged bull statues in particular were probably targeted by the militants.
But she said Isis could not erase the ancient heritage, pointing out that the relics had survived prior invasions. “We still know the names and feats of Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal,” she said. “Similarly, the actions of Isis do not completely destroy memory, even while they destroy unique artefacts.”
Mark Altaweel, a lecturer in near eastern archaeology at University College London, said the Isis attack probably targeted the palace grounds and the reliefs there. No imagery of the destruction has yet been released by the group.
A tribal source told Reuters that Isis members had come “to the Nimrud archaeological city and looted the valuables in it and then they proceeded to level the site to the ground.
“There used to be statues and walls as well as a castle that Islamic State has destroyed completely,” the source was quoted as saying.
Tom Holland, a historian, told the Guardian: “It’s a crime against Assyria, against Iraq, and against humanity. Destroy the past, and you control the future. The Nazis knew this, and the Khmer Rouge – and the Islamic State clearly understand it too.”
The site’s destruction is the latest assault by Isis against the ancient heritage of minorities that have coexisted in the Middle East for millennia. Last week, the group destroyed ancient Assyrian artefacts in Mosul museum in a video that triggered widespread condemnation and horror. The group had earlier also burned many priceless manuscripts at the city’s library.
Christopher Jones, a PhD student in ancient history at Columbia University who blogs about the neo-Assyrian empire, said: “What is at risk? Everything that doesn’t conform to the most strict Wahhabi standards of acceptability, anything that is beloved by people that Isis doesn’t like, anything that represents non-Isis interpretations of Islam such as Shiism or Sufism, and anything from before the time of Muhammad.”
Sanhareb Barsom, an official with the Syriac Union party across the border in Syria’s Hassakeh province, where the Assyrian community has also come under assault by Isis, told the Guardian: “These are not Assyrian artefacts, these are artefacts for all of humanity.”
Isis kidnapped more than 200 Assyrians in a sweep through villages south of the Khabur river last month, where members of the community had settled after the Simele massacre in the 1930s by the then-kingdom of Iraq.
“They are targeting a people as well as its history and culture,” Barsom said, calling for the intervention of international organisations to save Iraq’s heritage. “It’s an attempt to end the existence of a people in their ancestral land.”
Thousands of Chaldeans, Iraq’s main Christian sect, fled their historic homes on the plains of Nineveh in the face of the Isis advance, escaping forced conversions. The militant group also attempted to starve and enslave thousands of members of the ancient Yazidi sect living around Mount Sinjar, triggering air strikes by the US-led international coalition.
“It’s unprecedented,” said Afram of the Syriac League. “No one did that before.” He compared the attack to that of the Mongol invasion of the Middle East, saying Isis militants were going further in their destruction of ancient heritage.
“This is as if they are specialised in erasing whatever signals that we were present in any part of this region,” he added.
Afram condemned the lack of action by the international community, saying there had to be a real military action plan, an inter-faith religious campaign to put an end to religious strife, security cooperation, and action by the “Arab armies” to end the crisis. He said the international community was treating the strife in the Arab world as if it were part of a “basketball game”.
“All this world, from the UN to the security council, really cares about nothing, they don’t care about people who are slaughtered on a daily basis,” he said. “I don’t believe that there is an international community, or that there are values anymore.”
David Vergili, a member of the European Syriac Union, said Isis had done “tremendous damage to the social fabric of the Middle East”.
He added: “Preserving cultural and historical heritage in Iraq and elsewhere should be a concern for the whole civilised world as the birthplace and epicentre of our civilisation.”
مع قناة روسيا اليوم عن منهوبات الاثار من العراق وسوريا والتي يتم تسويقها في مدن اوربا والغرب
آثار سورية في لندن - لقاء الغاردين مع مارك الطويل
Mark Altaweel is surprised at how easy it is. A few hours into a hunt around London, the near-east specialist from the UCL Institute of Archaeology has uncovered objects that, he says, are “very likely to be coming from conflict regions” in Iraq and Syria. The items – pieces of early glass; a tiny statue; some fragments of bone inlay – range from the second to fourth centuries BC. Altaweel says they are so distinctive that they could only have come from a particular part of the region: the part now controlled by the so-called Islamic State. That we were able to find such items openly sold in London “tells you the scale – we’re just seeing the tail end of it,” he says.
This week, Unesco has added its voice to a chorus of concern, warning that looting in Iraq and Syria is taking place on an “industrial” scale – one more sorry aspect to the devastating conflicts in the region. This Mesopotamian area, the cradle of civilisation, is a giant archaeological site – it’s where the first cities were built, and contains treasures from the Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Islamic periods. Today, the pillaging of cultural heritage sites shows up on satellite maps that are pock-marked with hundreds of recent, illegal excavations. Some media reports suggest this income stream is the “second-largest source of revenue” for the group (after oil sales), but in reality it’s impossible to tell. What’s certain is that, while Isis grimly documents its destruction of Unesco sites such as Nimrud, profiteering from plundered antiquities has helped make it the most cash-rich terror group in the world.
Neil Brodie of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) at Glasgow University says that, in the absence of coordinated strategies and concerted efforts, attempts to tackle the problem have thus far been ineffective. “It’s not easy and it’s not cheap,” he says, adding: “If no one was buying, people wouldn’t dig it up. This material sells.”
London, one of the world’s largest antiquities markets, is considered a natural destination for looted goods. For the purposes of our research around the city, Altaweel is posing as an antiquities collector. He wears it convincingly, but the pose is an uneasy one. Altaweel doesn’t much like antiquities collectors – or rather, the very concept of the trade itself: antiquities, he feels, “shouldn’t be bought and sold in private collections”.
Altaweel’s interest in the region is personal as well as professional: he is an American who was born in Baghdad and has lived in Basra – we trade biographical information within minutes of first talking, as happens when you suspect someone’s surname is from the same region as yours. Altaweel is related to (and inspired by) the influential Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar, who led some of the country’s early excavations and is still widely cited within the profession today. Although his family left Iraq in the 1980s, when he was seven, Altaweel frequently returned to visit relatives. He has worked in most of the countries that fall within the near east region – from Egypt to Iran, from Turkey down to Yemen and southern Arabia – including numerous digs in both Iraq and Syria. During our scout for looted treasures, he occasionally notes that he has in the past “dug up” objects exactly like the ones we spot.
After a few tip-offs, an online search and a couple of dead ends, we uncover some small antiquities at dealers in central London. It takes a lot of scouring through a lot of objects, but Altaweel is fast. His eyes fly over row upon row of items – glass, coins, pottery, small statues, lamps, cylinder seals – and when he lands on an object of interest he lights up: despite the purpose of our search, it is obviously exciting to find and examine these antiquities. (“Do I need to wear gloves?” he asks the first dealer. He doesn’t; the market, unlike the field of archaeology, really isn’t bothered.) Altaweel’s discussions with sellers brings his expertise to the fore, as he politely adjusts their assessments of their own wares. “This is all Indian,” one trader says. “I think it’s probably near-eastern,” Altaweel quietly corrects. “These items are from the Islamic period,” another offers. “Unlikely,” Altaweel states. It’s like watching a rapid-fire game show premised on calling out archaeological bluff.
Every time Altaweel zones in on something that seems likely to be from an area now controlled by Isis, the dealer we’re talking to grows vague about the item’s origin. One seller says that some objects, almost certainly Syrian and from the area that Isis declared as its caliphate, were brought in a few months ago, by a private seller who said the goods had come from a family collection. Another suggests that a small statue – for which Altaweel says every type site is either in Iraq or Syria – was bought at an auction. There is never any paperwork.
One dealer, an amiable man in a quiet, small store filled with near-eastern objects, told us that he’d acquired some glass fragments very recently, and that they had likely come out of Jordan. Later, Altaweel tells me: “It’s obviously not Jordanian, so my suspicion is that it’s coming out of Syria.” The piece he shows us – a fragment of a cup or glass container, selling for £250 – is, he adds, highly distinctive of the area. “It’s very early glass and is concentrated in very few areas,” he says.
Sam Hardy, an expert in conflict antiquities, says such scenarios are typical. A common practice is to fudge provenance by claiming an antiquity has been in the family for a long time – and so could not have recently been smuggled. Perhaps the person who approached the dealer with a stash of antiquities asked to remain anonymous. Or maybe the items were, until recently, sitting in a private collection in Jordan or Lebanon. How could you prove that any of these treasures were smuggled out during the current conflict?
“The industry runs on trust,” says Hardy. “By not keeping any records, dealers make it easier for buyers to convince themselves there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.” That, in turn, makes it harder to enforce laws relating to the trade in stolen antiquities.
According to Syrian archaeologist Amr al-Azm of Shawnee State university in Ohio, when Isis took over swathes of the region, it also took hold of the already existing practice of illegal excavation. Until 2014, looting was carried out by various armed groups, or individuals, or the Syrian regime.
“When Daesh comes in, they take the looting and institutionalise it,” says Al-Azm, using the derogatory Arabic acronym for Isis. “So it becomes part of their admin, their revenue-raising enterprise – it becomes more intensified, escalated and organised.”
Using information gathered by local Syrian activists, Al-Azm found that Isis initially levied 20% taxes on those it “licensed” to excavate. In mid-2014, the group began to contract out excavation. But by autumn of that same year, Isis was “starting to hire their own archaeologists, digging teams and machinery – and that’s when we saw a peak of looting activity”. At that point, the trade was lucrative enough for Isis to invest in it. All this coincided with the US-led coalition’s bombing campaign against Isis targets, which curtailed other income streams such as oil, livestock and crops from seized areas. Isis began to enforce punishments for looting without a licence, says Al-Azm. The group started to control the dealers and middle men, getting savvy to the market, scouring the internet to see which artefacts would sell at a higher value.
Trade in looted antiquities is not new. As a result of high-profile raids and trials during the mid-90s, investigators have documented the traditional routes for such objects. Objects from the near east would usually pass first through Turkey or Lebanon, before being moved into Switzerland, Germany or, less commonly, Italy.
Christos Tsirogiannis, a forensic archaeologist working with the SCCJR, says: “Many antiquities dealers that we now know trafficked and traded in illicit objects were based in Geneva, Basel or Zurich … Germany was also picked as a country where, one way or another, the goals and aims of illegal traders were satisfied.” These European destinations, says Tsirogiannis, are where illicit goods were typically laundered – changing hands, passing between dealer and conservator in order to create a paper trail that would then be used to sell objects on to auction houses in London and New York.
Today, other experts assume that similar routes are being used for looted goods coming out of Syria and Iraq. “It’s just the way the market works,” says David Gill, professor of archaeological heritage at University Campus Suffolk. Looted goods are “coming out through Turkey and Beirut and then containered to who knows where”. By the time an object gets to London, he says, it “has paperwork, internally, within Europe”. (This a possible scenario for higher-value objects for which a paper trail is more desirable, but undocumented items still turn up in European markets.)
When the BBC covered the issue in February, they located a go-between in a town in southern Turkey, who gave a Skype interview in which he displayed artefacts that he claimed had been dug up months earlier in Isis-controlled Raqqa in eastern Syria. He told the BBC that the objects were destined for western Europe: “Turkish merchants sell it to dealers in Europe,” he said. “They call them, send pictures … people from Europe come to check the goods and take them away.” This same investigation also located a dealer in Beirut who said he had access to genuine Byzantine and Hellenic mosaics, which most likely would have been looted from Syria. This dealer, the Turkish go-between and the head of Lebanon’s bureau of international theft all told the BBC that Europe was the main market for looted antiquities from the region. Meanwhile, an undercover investigation by the Sunday Times in 2013 found archaeological treasures from the ancient Roman city of Palmyra (recently taken over by Isis) sold on the black market in Lebanon.
But it’s impossible to know precisely what is being smuggled, to where – or how. It’s likely that looted goods are being sold online, or though established connections with private collectors. Sam Hardy, the conflict antiquities expert, says online sellers aren’t bothering to be secretive: “They’re using eBay to establish connections, or making sales using Skype, WhatsApp or Kik,” he says, referring to smartphone instant messaging services. On top of that, some experts in this field suggest, antiquities collectors can be patient: buyers with deep enough pockets can acquire stolen goods and sit on them for years, releasing them into the market when the heat has died down.
Unesco conventions on antiquities have been in place since 1970. In February this year, the UN Security Council banned trade in artefacts illegally removed from Syria since 2011 and Iraq since 1990, hoping to choke off a funding source for terrorist groups. But enforcement is near impossible in both these countries amid the current turmoil. And in the destination countries, it’s up to law enforcers to establish when those objects left conflict zones. “The lack of evidence either way means that the dealer wins,” says Patty Gerstenblith, a lawyer specialising in cultural heritage at Chicago’s DePaul University College of Law. This high bar means that authorities often settle for reclaiming objects rather than pursuing cases through criminal courts – so some dealers might assess that, given the overall profits, it’s worth losing the odd artefact to the process. While we can’t second-guess the context or motives, Gerstenblith cites examples of Egyptian artefacts seized by US officials in Miami, Iraqi items in New York and Cambodian objects in Los Angeles; in each case, there were no attempts at prosecution. She suggests that less-scrupulous dealers may engage in wilful ignorance over an object’s provenance when a seller approaches them with a story. “They don’t ask a lot of questions, they think, ‘Oh fine, I have your word for it’ – and that’s sufficient to establish that the dealer didn’t know it was illegal.”
But Christopher Marinello, director of Art Recovery International, says that, partly due to recent media attention, dealers now increasingly view objects from Syria as suspect: “Reputable dealers and auction houses are doing the right thing and asking the right questions”, when they come across antiquities with questionable provenance.
Along with other experts, Gerstenblith holds that part of the problem is that law enforcers may not be taking this issue seriously enough. Perhaps that’s down to a lack of resources, or a lingering assumption that antiquities is a sort of gentlemanly pursuit – but it seems the issue of looted antiquities is not currently viewed as a high priority. Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Unit says it has three live investigations into stolen antiquities from Syria. It adds: “In two of these investigations, restrictions have been placed on the articles in question. There have been no arrests to date.”
Meanwhile, buyers are not getting the message that the purchase of such antiquities is enabling war and terror in the Middle East. “These are blood antiquities,” says Altaweel, adding that attempts to make the cultural-heritage case for more action to stop trade in looted goods have not yielded results. “What might work more is to say that this is funding death.”
Trafficking antiquities: following the trail of the loot
Iraq/Syria: Isis capitalised on a pre-existing illegal trade in antiquities, which began during the turmoil in 2012, first charging a 20% tax on “licensed” excavations and then hiring their own archaeologists and equipment to take over the trade itself.
Turkey/Lebanon: Smugglers take looted items across the border to both countries on land. Go-betweens then sell them on to local merchants who field interest from European dealers, and sometimes even sell items over the counter.
Switzerland/Germany: A series of major raids and trials in the 1990s found that items from the near east would often be laundered through mainland Europe. Dealers in Basel or Geneva would falsify a paper trail in concert with conservators before sending them on to their final destinations.
London/New York: Items that have picked up a convincing paper trail can be sold lucratively at auction in the UK or US. But even smaller items that have no such provenance can be found in antique shops, hidden in plain sight among legitimately sourced objects.
قالت صحيفة الجارديان البريطانية إن هناك تحفًا أثرية نهبت من سوريا والعراق، وتم بيعها في بريطانيا ودول أوروبية أخرى، واستدلت الصحفية على ذلك بخبير الآثار مارك الطويل، وهو أمريكي من أصل عراقي، في رحلة بحثه عن التحف التي نهبت من سوريا والعراق، ووجدها تباع في أسواق لندن.
وتحدثت الصحيفة مع بائعي التحف عن مصدر القطع التي يبيعونها، فلم تكن إجاباتهم شافية، وكثيرًا ما كانوا يتهربون من الأسئلة، ولا يملكون وثائق تبين كيفية الحصول عليها، فيما بينت صور الأقمار الصناعية انتشار مئات الحفريات غير القانونية في المواقع الأثرية المصنفة تراثًا عالميًّا.
وأفادت بعض التقاير الإعلامية أن تهريب الآثار أصبح المصدر الثاني للمال بالنسبة لتنظيم “الدولة الإسلامية”، بعد بيع النفط، ولكن لا يوجد دليل قطعي على هذه المزاعم.
وقال أحمد شهاب رئيس اتحاد آثار مصر لحماية الأثر والبشر “عندما تقول الجارديان إن تهريب الآثار هو المصدر الثانى بعد النفط لتمويل داعش الإرهابية، فهذه رسالة لكل مسئول أن يخرجعلى شاشات الإعلام ويصرح في الصحف أن حماية الآثار هى حماية للأمن القومى للبلاد”.
وأضاف شهاب أن التنظيمات الإرهابية أصبحت وفقًا لتلك التقارير الإعلامية تهتم بالآثار؛ لأنها مصدر هام للتمويل، وأن الإهمال فى حماية الآثار يساهم بشكل غير مباشر فى تدعيم وتمويل تلك الحركات الإرهابية التى تدمر وتقتل الإنسان وتضر حضارته.
وأكد أمير جمال، منسق حركة سرقات لا تنقطع، أن الآثار العربية يسيل لها لعاب الغرب؛ لأنها غنية بفنون وإبداع بخلاف حضارات عريقة ليست موجودة فى بلدهم؛ لذا فالآثار هى مصدر تجارة لهم، تُدفَع فيها أموال طائلة.
وأشار جمال إلى أن تهريب الآثار ليس بسبب الحروب أو الأحداث فقط، إنما هو من قبل، وهناك مافيا خاصة من الداخل عبارة عن مسئولين كبار لهم تعاملات مع منظمات ومتاحف عالمية يستغلون نفوذهم داخل الآثار؛ ليتم تهريب عشرات القطع الثمينة ومعظمها جاء من المخازن التى تحتوى على آثار غير مسجلة بخلاف حفر ممنهج تم داخل المناطق الأثرية واستخراج مقابر كاملة