I submitted a review article on the theme of "Heritage Crime" earlier today. It strikes me that archaeological concerns about looting and its impact are moving away from the position held by criminologists. The criminologists (appropriately) focus on "crime", whereas archaeologists consider the importance of context.
But I go back to my earlier position on the intellectual impact of looting. What information is lost by extracting an object from its archaeological context in an unscientific way? How is that loss of information having an impact on the way that the wider corpus is interpreted?
Imagine a rare piece of armour that is removed from its archaeological context without any appropriate recording. Has a crime taken place? Has information been lost?