Sunday, June 10, 2012

WikiLoot aims to use crowdsourcing to track down stolen ancient artefacts

The Guardian, UK (Tom Kington)

Egypt is not included in this programme just yet, but hopefully it will be before too long.

Campaigns to combat archaeological tomb raiders have notched up some big successes, notably a deal under which the J Paul Getty museum in Los Angeles agreed to hand back 40 precious artefacts after it was shown they had been looted from digs in Italy.

Activists, however, call that a drop in the ocean in a business valued at as much as $10bn (£6.5bn) a year, and claim hard-pressed lawyers and police forces are struggling against unscrupulous dealers.

Which is why plans are afoot to put thousands of previously unpublished photos and documents about stolen artefacts online to create WikiLoot, a new crowdsourcing, data mining experiment to help track down some of the world's oldest treasures.

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