The destruction of ancient monuments and artworks by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has shocked observers worldwide. Yet iconoclastic erasures of the past date back at least to the mid-1300s BCE, during the Amarna Period of ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. Far more damage to the past has been inflicted by natural disasters, looters, and public works.

Art historian Maxwell Anderson's Antiquities: What Everyone Needs to Know® analyzes continuing threats to our heritage, and offers a balanced account of treaties and laws governing the circulation of objects; the history of collecting antiquities; how forgeries are made and detected; how authentic works are documented, stored, dispersed, and displayed; the politics of sending antiquities back to their countries of origin; and the outlook for an expanded legal market. Anderson provides a summary of challenges ahead, including the future of underwater archaeology, the use of drones, remote sensing, and how invisible markings on antiquities will allow them to be traced.

Written in question-and-answer format, the book equips readers with a nuanced understanding of the legal, practical, and moral choices that face us all when confronting antiquities in a museum gallery, shop window, or for sale on the Internet.

“Well written, concise, informative, and timely; chock full of expert insider knowledge. This is must reading for all who are interested in the past and concerned about protecting our mutual heritage in the future.”
— Prof. Eric H. Cline, Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History, The George Washington University
“Throughout his career, Max Anderson has sought to bring clarity and transparency to the complex and often confusing subject of antiquities and, more broadly, the stewardship of cultural property. Clear-eyed both in its understanding of the intellectual dimensions of the ongoing debate about this issue and in its mastery of detail, this beautifully written book will serve not only as a lucid introduction to those unfamiliar with this complex and unfamiliar terrain, but also a valuable reference for collectors and museum professionals.”
— Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, Philadelphia Museum of Art
“Anderson dares to try to illuminate the contested claims of ownership to humanity’s collective past. This book is a must-read if you yourself care about being able to participate in these fascinating, and, indeed fateful discussions, in a fully informed way.”
— Selma Holo, Director, USC Fisher Museum of Art
“Maxwell Anderson has, for more than thirty years, suggested novel and constructive solutions for the perennial problem of conflicting claims for archaeological material. It is unlikely that the governments of source countries, archaeologists, private collectors, or public museum officers will ever see eye to eye on the vexing question of who owns antiquity, but for anyone with an interest in the matter, Anderson lays out the issues with refreshing clarity and informed insights.”
— Gary Tinterow, Director, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston