Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Commerce, the Looting Question and the Conscientious Collector

Nathan Elkins (October 6, 2009, Lobbyist Celebrates "Collectors' Rights" Victory in Bulgaria, but What About the Continuous Destruction? ) writes sense:
Why is the commercial lobby, which claims to be "anti-looting," unwilling to acknowledge or address the problem and the way that the current market structure contributes to it? If, as its titulature suggests, it caters to a collector interest, why are the concerns of conscientious collectors not being addressed? I suggest that the archaeological community ought to distinguish better between collector and commercial. It ought to embrace that element which acquires objects out of a passion for history and a love of learning. The consumers are concerned and, if they feel empowered to do so, can be agents of proactive change. Others are content with a detrimental status quo.
Peter Tompa lawyer for US and international commerce of dugup geegaws, writes non-sense: in a recent post (Archaeologists Warn of Nighthawks While England Celebrates Reported Hoards) he discusses a group of posts from David Gill's and my blogs in a most wrong-headed manner. The point about the items he insists on calling "trophy art" is that they are objects stolen from the archaeological record (for the most part graves) and illegally exported. Why is the lobby for the antiquities trade so very concerned to distract attention from that simple incontrovertible truth?

He presents the issue as some kind of international contest to see whether Britain or Italy can get more (or is it more significant?) artefacts out of the hands of treasure seekers exploiting archaeological sites as a source of collectables for entertainment and/or profit. He says England is winning because of the PAS - but is not the encouragement of Treasure hunting in fact not LOSING the battle to preserve the archaeological record?

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