Crime, Corruption, and Collateral Damage: Large Infrastructure Projects as a Threat to Cultural Heritage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This chapter provides an analysis of the routines of the transnational criminal market in looted antiquities. It shows that there are clearly risk factors that OBOR will increase organized criminal opportunities in this field. We divide these criminal risks into three categories: (1) “source risks”, in which development threatens the physical integrity of cultural heritage sites; (2) “transit risks”, in which improvements to transport infrastructure provide increased opportunities for the rapid movement of illicit commodities from source toward the marketplace; and (3) “market risks”, which add to or further support the narratives available to market actors through which they rationalize, neutralize, or justify participation in the criminal trade of antiquities. We consider these possible risks in turn, concluding that from an antiquities protection perspective, OBOR might be considered a process of creative destruction: the creation of trade and infrastructure, the destruction of cultural heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganized Crime and Corruption Across Borders
Subtitle of host publicationExploring the Belt and Road Initiative
EditorsT Wing Lo, Dina Siegel, Sharon I. Kwok
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429031045
ISBN (Print)9780367142766
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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