In 2013, an American collector visiting Tunisia entered the Sousse catacombs — an ancient necropolis that holds some of the oldest Christian burials in the world — and stole a skull with a “very dark ancient patina” (as he described it) during renovations of the catacombs. The collector put the skull up for sale in a private Facebook group for $550, telling his tale of looting in the sales listing. 

Other members of the group were excited by the looted skull, with some posting comments about how “beautiful” it was. What the collector may not have realized was that the group wasn’t as private as it seemed. A Live Science reporter posing as a person interested in skulls had infiltrated the private Facebook group, and several other groups like it, and for 10 months kept track of human remains that were being sold. 

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