Saving Sites: One Looting Step at a Time, Utilizing Geographic Systems (GIS) and Google Earth to Analyze Looting Patterns of Nasca Sites
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To be able to preserve looted sites, one must identify the patterns and develop prevention strategies to avoid further looting. The illegal antiquities trade has had its’ roots in the archaeological field since the beginning of time. One of the reasons why looting happens is because of the collectors’ widespread interest in the rich, cultural materials that are found at cultural heritage sites. Therefore, preservation of looted sites is critical in archaeology. The dire threat of looted artifacts exists in cultural heritage sites, especially in countries that have few-to-little resources to develop and implement prevention strategies. Focusing on Nasca sites, current laws and regulations have been established between United States and Peru in order to criminalize looters, such as the memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The law is placed to prevent the international antiquities market from profiting from looted artifacts and in order to create an ethical environment within museums and their affiliates. However, the law still does not benefit specific Nasca sites that have already been looted or their artifacts from circulating in the international antiquities trade. Therefore, utilizing modern technology is an important and effective method of understanding the deep implications of looting, specifically in Nasca. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and satellite imagery from Google Earth can provide a method for analyzing looted pits in Nasca, Peru, and to develop a tracking method to identify the range of looting over the years. The approach aims to lower the cost of prevention strategies and to implement an adequate prevention of already looted pits, which in turn can be used to hamper any further looting. Documenting images and area measurements of Nasca sites that were looted in the years 2002 and 2016, the project aims to utilize a GIS analysis of the impact on the region. Deriving research from Dr. Sarah Parcak's work on a satellite imagery and looting, Dr. Katharina Schrieber's archaeological survey, Brooke Boyer's thesis, among other acclaimed publications, I hope to gather an understanding of the importance for preservation and prevention methods against looking.