Free Online Course: Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime

An engaging introduction to the study of museum heists, artefact smuggling, and other crimes related to art.


The devastation caused by the trafficking of illicit antiquities and the theft of art has gained widespread public attention in recent years.

Confronted with the pock-marked “lunar landscapes” of archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria, freshly decapitated Buddha sculptures in Cambodia and empty frames on the walls of museums, we face a difficult question: how do we protect our heritage from theft, illegal sale, and destruction?

In Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime we will tackle this question together.

On this free online course, taught by researchers from the Trafficking Culture international research consortium and hosted by the University of Glasgow, you will gain a better understanding of:

  • the criminal networks that engage in antiquities trafficking and art crime;
  • the harmful effects that these phenomena have on communities and society as a whole;
  • and what scholars, police, and lawmakers are doing to protect our heritage.

By combining cutting-edge research in the fields of criminology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, art history, museums studies, and law, we will shed light on the grey market for stolen art.

Official Link

Is it right for me?

This free online course is a free, engaging, introduction to the study of antiquities trafficking and art crime. No prior information about the topic is needed and learners at all levels are welcome. We like to think that Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime is right for everyone.

Dates and Workload

The free online course runs three times per year, starting the first weeks of February, June, and October.

Each run lasts for three weeks and students are expected to work at their own pace. There is no assessment for this course, rather students are asked to watch videos and complete activities. Learners can do as much or as little of the additional reading as they like.

Teaching Team

This course was designed by Dr Donna Yates, a Lecturer in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime at the University of Glasgow.

You will also see contributions by:

Tuition Fees

This online course is entirely free.


For more information about the contents of the course, please contact Donna Yates.

For technical and other site concerns, please contact FutureLearn.