The looting of archaeological sites is daily destroying more and more of the unread record of the origins of civilization. This pillaging is driven by demand from wealthy collectors for high-quality antiquities, many of which, in the US at least, find their way ultimately into major art museums in exchange for a tax deduction. The legal market for antiquities is constrained only by import restrictions on selected categories of antiquities, and by the extremely improbable chance that an unprovenanced antiquity could be shown in court to have been illegally excavated.And the legal market has powerful supporters in Congress who would block any effort to shut it down.
Countries of origin where the looting is ongoing tend to be relatively poor and incapable of paying the cost needed to secure their sites.
What policies could be put in place to provide the resources needed to stop the looting of archaeological sites?