Accepted Paper:

The Vietnamese antiquities trade in its archaeological and legal context  


Damien Huffer (Smithsonian Institution)
Duncan Chappell (university of sydney)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper discusses the results of a preliminary investigation into the Vietnamese antiquities trade in its legal and archaeological context. Data derives from street-level survey in Hanoi (01/2014) and solicited interview with archaeologists, government official, and cooperative dealers.

Paper long abstract:

In 2013 Vietnam became one of the 21 States Parties elected to become a member of the World Heritage Committee (WHC), the international body responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Although not the first Southeast Asian nation to assume this important international role, Vietnam has joined the Committee at a time when increasing attention is being given to the continuing threat in the region from looting and trafficking of cultural property. Much of this attention has focused on Cambodia and Thailand, but the Vietnamese archaeological record has, and continues to be, a victim of this illicit activity. In this paper, we present a preliminary review of what is known about the illicit trade in Vietnamese cultural heritage, both within Vietnam itself and from Vietnam to key regional and international market countries. Data derives primarily from pilot fieldwork conducted in Hanoi in early 2014, as well as interview data solicited before and during that time. Results of a preliminary street-level survey of market activity in Hanoi will also be discussed. Within the framework of what current legislation permits and what efforts, if any, are being made to regulate antiquities trafficking, new case studies since 2014 will be used to argue for further research.

Panel P20
The antiquities trade in Southeast Asia: new solutions to an old problem