National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Patty Gerstenblith

Affiliation: DePaul University

Professor Patty Gerstenblith received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her PhD from Harvard University. She then attended law school and graduated with her JD from Northwestern University in 1983. She has served as a member of the United States Cultural Property Advisory Committee from 2000-2003 and is currently the Director for the Center for Art, Museum and Cultural Heritage Law at DePaul University.


Archaeological sites are looted for the value of artifacts that are sold onto the international art market. The acceptance of undocumented, possibly looted, artifacts by the market and, in particular, by museums, means that we lose the contextual evidence needed to understand and reconstruct the past and knowledge of whether an object is authentic or a forgery. As we now know, the looting of archaeological sites in the Middle East and elsewhere may also help to fund armed conflict and terrorism. This lecture will explore the intersection of these issues and the legal and ethical responses that are intended to reduce the incentives to traffic in looted archaeological materials and thereby promote preservation of the archaeological heritage.

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