Co-organised by the French Ministry of Culture (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs) and the Museum of History of the City of Marseille, the aim of the colloquium, held on 12 and 13 October 2022 at the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, was to present the actions and good practices carried out by the various French State services, experts and professionals involved in the protection of cultural and archaeological heritage in France (customs, police, gendarmerie) and in the Mediterranean Basin, in order to fight against archaeological looting.

After an inaugural speech by Mr Nicolas Grimal, Permanent Secretary of the Académie des Inscriptions des Belles-Lettres (Institut de France), the first day highlighted the national players involved in the fight against archaeological looting, presenting, in three sessions, the actions of the Ministry of Culture, its central and decentralised services, the investigation services and the judicial practices against looting.

The second day was divided into two sessions. The first one on looting and international trafficking, the second one on international organisations involved in the fight against looting, the links with both terrorism and armed conflicts and trafficking in cultural property. Ms Marina Schneider, Principal Legal Officer and Treaty Depositary at the UNIDROIT Secretariat, took part in the session entitled “International rules and standards to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property” and presented the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects – with particular emphasis on the standard of due diligence – as well as the UNESCO-UNIDROIT Model Provisions defining State ownership of undiscovered cultural property. It was also an opportunity to review France’s position on the ratification of the 1995 Convention.



An exhibition entitled “Trésors coupables – Pillages archéologiques en France et dans le Bassin méditerranéen” (16 December 2022 – 12 November 2023) was previewed at the Musée d’Histoire de la Ville de Marseille on the sidelines of the colloquium, and a special issue of the journal Archéologia on archaeological looting (“Trésors en péril – le fléau du pillage archéologique” [Treasures in Danger – the scourge of archaeological looting]) – in which there is a page on the contribution made by the UNIDROIT Convention – was published on this occasion.



Programme of the Colloquium

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