Thursday, 20 August 2009

Another collection seized in the aftermath of "Action Cerberus"

In Durango, Colorado, Federal authorities confiscated on Wednesday a large private collection of thousands of ancient Native American artifacts which had been voluntarily surrendered by its owners. Antiquities collector and dealer Vern Crites, 74, and his wife, Marie, have been indicted for trafficking, theft and grave desecration as part of the series of raids known as "Action Cerberus" in which 25 people from the Four Corners were arrested in June. Two of the original defendants committed suicide, and one pleaded guilty and turned over a large amount of artifacts. The items from the Crites home were taken to Utah, where they will remain while the case against the couple is adjudicated.

More here: Katie Burford, Feds seize couple's artifacts, Durango Herald, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009,

and here: Paul Foy Feds Gather Vast Collection Of Artifacts Dealer (Colorado and Denver News/ AP Aug 19, 2009).

Patty Henetz, Feds haul off more seized artifacts Salt Lake Tribune, Aug 19, 2009.

This case puts another slant on the 'privacy' arguments I mentioned in an earlier post, where collectors insist that what they do in the privacy of their own homes is theirs, and nobody else's business. Although no plea has been entered, it is conceivable that the Criteses will claim they have done nothing wrong in providing these artefacts with a good home where they can be looked at - as do almost all portable antiquity collectors. Where however does one draw the line? Certainly the charges against them and their co-defendants make at least some of their alleged activities sound questionable, and not only to an archaeologist.

The photos taken through the open door of the Crites' house show shelves with pots on them, nowhere can I see any form of labelling. If that is the case, since the artefacts were gathered while the couple were absent from the home, how will any of them be assigned to any kind of proenance - or will they not be? Let us hope that this time the federal agents got the books from the hidden safe which details the purchases and sales the couple was involved in. Perhaps we will see what documentation their customers can show concerning these purchases. The circle widens.
Vignette: Heimatstein

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.