In the midst of relentless conflict across Syria and Iraq, heritage sites are being mass-looted by terrorist groups and opportunists. As a result, the illicit antiquities trade is thriving. The destruction of churches, mosques and archaeological sites by the Islamic State has been described as "cultural cleansing", rooted in beliefs of iconoclasm, also eradicating evidence of their own plundering. These actions have created an epidemic where evidence of ancient civilisation is disappearing. With conditions worsening, handfuls of foreign individuals have joined militias to fight the Islamic State. Due to tightening borders, they are transported covertly. The space within which objects and people are smuggled is a grey area; their identity stripped, they become invisible. They move like ghosts under the cover of darkness.
Léa Campbell • Alex Hall • Chloe Hamill • Laura Salomaa •