The May 2011 issue of Smithsonian Magazine has an article about the Maya site of El Mirador (Brown, Chip, 2011, Lost City of the Maya. Smitsonian 42(2 (May)):36-49.). The article includes photographs of several spectacular Maya polychrome vessels (p. 45) that apparently are not from the site. In fact, we have no idea where these vessels are from; they lack provenience. In a post on the Aztlan listserv today, Karen Bruhns identifies these vessels as unprovenienced, looted, objects.
In a subsequent email, she notes that at least one of the vessels are from the notorious "November Collection" of looted Maya art that caused a stir when it was exhibited in a number of U.S. museums in 1998 (New York Times article). This collection was featured in the very interesting and enlightening paper on archaeologists and looters by John Dorfman:
Dorfman, John 1998 Getting Their Hands Dirty? Archaeologists and the Looting Trade. Lingua Franca 8(May-June):28-36.
One might expect that magazines by and for wealthy art dealers might publish looted objects without a second thought. But Smithsonian Magazine is supposedly a legitimate source of news about natural history and related topics, associated with the premier museum in the U.S. Their inclusion of photos of looted objects is deplorable, a real ethical lapse.
For some context on the antiquity trade and its negative impact on the archaeological record, see these blogs: Looting Matters blog, Illlicit Cultural Property blog, or some of these works:
2004 Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World. St. Martin's Press, New York.
Brodie, Neil, Morag M. Kersel, Christina Luke, and Kathryn Walker Tubb (editors)
2006 Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Brodie, Neil and Colin Renfrew
2005 Looting and the World's Archaeological Heritage: The Inadequate Response. Annual Review of Anthropology 34:343-361.
2000 Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership: The Ethical Crisis in Archaeology. Duckworth, London.