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Loot or Go Hungry?

In impoverished countries, like Cambodia, food is sometimes harder to find than antiquities. On an empty stomach, the choice between handing relics over to the authorities or selling them to smugglers can be all too easy.

“Looting has caused even more destruction than war,” Douglas Preston writes in the August issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. “At Angkor Wat scarcely a freestanding statue retains its head.”

How can this looting and destruction be prevented? What can be done to help impoverished countries keep their antiquities?

• Read an essay by Asian arts expert Martin Lerner and share your thoughts in our forum. You can also read an excerpt from Preston’s article, “The Temples of Angkor: Still Under Attack” in the August 2000 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

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