Sources of Archaeological Destruction
Wars and Conflicts
Wars in places like Syria are destroying World Heritage sites at a rapid pace, causing enormous loss. This is a global problem, and while it may take a back seat to the current suffering of civilians in the conflict areas, it is a critical issue for future generations, which generally requires an international response.
Age and the Elements
Exposure to water, wind, and sand causes destruction of stone and paint surfaces. Jungles grow through many structures in the Amazon.
Intentional destruction of the great Buddhas in Afghanistan was done for religious purposes, but falls under this category.
Even though there are now strong international laws about repatriating objects, much looting is for illegal sale to private collectors
Earthquakes are a problem for archaeological sites around the world. There is little that can be done to protect sites from earthquake damage, other than to undertake stabilization and repairs to prevent further damage.