“In some countries like Italy, for example, some are literally using mechanical diggers on historical sites to rip up artefacts for sale.The story hangs on the recent withdrawals from Bonhams.
“These have tended to reach auction rooms in places like New York and London via Switzerland, though the Swiss are now trying to tighten controls.
“Archaeological sites are being decimated and the few treasures taken away for financial gain lose their context. Strip them from that context and we lose dating, related objects and information about who used them.
“Presenting a looted object means that we value the object as a beautiful thing but we do not care about the society and culture that created it. And that is an uncivilised view.”
Paul Barford has also commented on the story.