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Nathan Elkins, Art History, Baylor University: "Working a Case on Looted and Smuggled Ancient Coins as an Expert Witness"

Event Type
Department of the Classics, Archeological Institute of America (AIA) Central Illinois Chapter
wifi event
Feb 26, 2021   2:00 pm  
Nathan Elkins, Art History, Baylor University
Brett Kaufman

Abstract: There is a popular myth that ancient coins of all types can be found anywhere, oft repeated in order to argue against regulations at the federal level. While some coins did indeed circulate widely in antiquity, many coinages had much more regionalized or localized circulation patterns. Law enforcement and federal prosecutors have sometimes been reticent to pursue antiquities trafficking cases involving looted and smuggled ancient coins because of an unfamiliarity with the material and the false assumption that there is no way to identify a country of origin. With more than a decade’s experience of working with federal law enforcement and studying ancient coin circulation, I outline a methodology for working cases on ancient coins, identifying their origin, and discuss my experiences of working with federal law enforcement. 


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