Matthew Bogdanos

A footlocker, intercepted with the help of the Iraqi deputy prime minister, Ahmed Chalabi, while allegedly on its way to the Iranian border, contained 425 looted antiquities. The relationships Bogdanos’s team nurtured with Iraqi citizens and officials and its no-questions-asked policy led to the return of thousands of items, as well as to tips about the whereabouts of other items. Gaining the trust of locals was an impressive feat in a society where the previous regime would have had meted out death or other severe punishment to looters of antiquities.