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Session Dates

Session 1: Wednesday February 9, 19.00 – 20.30 CET
Session 2: Wednesday February 16, 19.00 – 20.30 CET
Session 3: Wednesday February 23, 19.00 – 20.30 CET
Session 4: Wednesday March 2nd, 19.00 – 20.30 CET

Zoom links will be sent out to all registered participants two days before each session. 

Course Description

Research has mainly focused on describing the final receivers of illicitly obtained antiquities, describing how museums, dealers, and collectors perpetuate this form of crime with their purchases. However, in order to be able to assess the phenomenon of looting properly, it is important to know the role of the looters as the starting point in the supply chain of the illicit antiquities trade. This six-hour, low participant-to-instructor ratio, eCourse will introduce participants to the role, and human-driven elements off looters within that interconnected network. 


Key concepts covered include:

➣ Empirically analysing the figure of the looter of antiquities from a criminological perspective.
➣ Inserting the supply of looted antiquities into broader topics such as transnational crimes, organised crime and trafficking.
➣ Using cases to understand the figure of the looter in the chain of trafficked antiquities, and in order to identify all relevant aspects in these criminal dynamics.

Course lectures draw upon on a multidisciplinary body of literature on archaeological looting and interviews with looters, law enforcement officials, archeologists, prosecutors, journalists, criminologists, and authors. Participants will come away from this course with a deeper understanding of the serious issue of looting which is a crime that is organised, but less so a problem of organised crime.


Course Instructor

Dr. Marc Balcells is a Spanish criminologist, a professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and an associate professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Marc holds degrees in Law (Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona), Criminology (Universitat Autònoma; Barcelona), and Human Sciences (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), and masters both in Criminal Law (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Universitat de Barcelona) and Criminal Justice (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York). A Fulbright scholar, he obtained his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, at John Jay College. His research revolves around cultural heritage crime and, more specifically, the criminological aspects of archaeological looters.  Dr. Balcells is an expert in the criminological analysis of archaeological plunder and its perpetrators and has also investigated other crimes against cultural property, such as theft and falsification of works of art.

What we will explore


Why people break laws and how society reacts to law-breaking.


About the origins of modern criminology and about the diversity of thinking on crime and criminal behaviour within the field of Criminology.


About the links between the theories and criminal justice policies.


How to evaluate the empirical evidence related to criminological theories.


How to compare and critique differing theoretical perspectives.

How People Are Reacting

I took this online course as an introduction to the topic when the COVID pandemic prevented me from attending ARCA’s PG Cert program in Italy. The course gave me an exciting baseline introduction and I look forward to taking their summer professional training program next year.

Sarah Scott

As a university student taking courses in organized crime and terrorism, I wanted to understand better how art intersects with these more well known types of criminal behaviors. Professor Tijhuis and Professor Albertson gave me an excellent overview and I look forward to seeing what other courses on the subject ARCA develops.

Luis Rodriguez