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VIRTUAL - Working a Case on Looted and Smuggled Ancient Coins as an Expert Witness

February 26, 2021 @ 2:00 pm EST Central Time

This is an online event.

Lecturer: Nathan T. Elkins

The lobby of ancient coin dealers has popularized the glib mantra that ancient coins can be found anywhere, 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.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

N.T. Elkins, “Ancient Coins, Find Spots, and Import Restrictions: A Critique of Arguments Made in the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild’s ‘Test Case’,” Journal of Field Archaeology 40.2: 236-243.

N.T. Elkins, “The Trade in Fresh Supplies of Ancient Coins: Scale, Organization, and Politics,” in P.K. Lazrus and A.W. Barker (eds.), All the King’s Horses: Essays on the Impact of Looting and the Illicit Antiquities Trade on Our Knowledge of the Past. (Washington, DC: Society for American Archaeology Press). 91-107.

Oliver Lecture

Please contact Jane Goldberg at for the link to attend this online lecture.

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February 26, 2021
2:00 pm EST
Event Category:


Jane A. Goldberg


In-person or Virtual Event
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