A Case Study of the Carabinieri Force for the Protection of Cultural Heritage

In 1969 Italy became the first nation to found a special police force unit, the Carabinieri Force for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, dedicated to combatting the theft and illegal excavation of archaeological sites, the trafficking and counterfeiting of stolen goods, including cultural property, and to ensuring the confiscation of stolen or illegally exported cultural objects sold on the art market. In addition, this special unit has provided specialized support to peace-keeping operations in war zones, including in Iraq from 2003 to 2006. While active on the national territory of Italy, the Carabinieri Force has an international reach and acts as an example to the rest of the world of how to successfully address security issues surrounding cultural heritage. This presentation details the work of the Carabinieri Force for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and the important role it plays in mediating and resolving threats to cultural heritage sites in war and peace.