The Pothunter's Livelihood: Huaquerismo and Costa Rican Law in Defense of the National Archaeological Heritage



With legal mechanisms established to protect Costa Rica's archaeological heritage and to control the traffic in antiquities, the looting of sites has greatly diminished but not ceased. Designing measures that effectively end looting requires understanding of why and how it occurs. This article describes the activities of huaqueros during the second half of the twentieth century. Individuals no longer involved in illegal activities, but who “enjoy a certain prestige” based on their great experience, provide information about the work of huaqueros.