Antiquities are unwrapped as thousands of priceless antiques from across war-ravaged Syria are gathered in the capital to be stored safely away from the hands of Islamic State militants and the ongoing war across most of the country, in Damascus, Syria August 18, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

  • Archaeologists and researchers are worried at the amount of illegitimate antiquities that have inundated sites like eBay and Amazon.
  • The sites’ methods for regulating the provenance of antiquities places the burden of reporting specific listings on the buyer — which critics argue opens consumers up to risk when buying antiquities online.

Interested in purchasing a collection of ancient treasure online? You’re in luck. Turns out, there’s a trove of artifacts available for purchase on the digital marketplace, and a quick search on Amazon or eBay yields immediate results. Take your pick from a slew of relics Coptic Papyrus manuscripts, ancient Roman amphoras from the early ages, collections of yellowing lithographs, and “freshly dug” ancient Roman coins.

But among the hoard of relics, you’ll find a sordid assortment of fakes, looted goods, and embezzled artifacts, and if you’re attempting to buy them, the chances of losing your money can be high. Christopher Marinello, founder of Art Recovery International, a company that specializes in the recovery of stolen or missing cultural property, tells Business Insider that he believes that, when it comes to purchasing antiquities over the internet, there’s a 95% chance that you’ll lose 100% of your money.

Selling stolen or fake goods online is nothing new — illicit items have inundated the digital marketplace since the internet’s inception. But, as more and more brick and mortar antiquities dealers turn to the internet to trade their goods online, the problem has become increasingly severe. The Wall Street Journal recently published a story detailing the prevalence of looted or fake antiquities on the digital marketplace. The Journal’s account reveals the myriad antiquities being peddled on virtually every online avenue available — from contraband items posted to eBay and Amazon to antique collectors offering up embezzled artifacts in Facebook groups Read More Here