Let me just highlight a statement from that last post which seems to me to be very revealing. Coin dealer Dave Welsh submits that the preservation of the archaeological record is not necessary for preservation of national cultural heritage and adds that:
The argument that the stratigraphic record is somehow essential to cultural heritage has now been taken very far beyond its true merits, and it is past time to get back to reality and cease this unjustified attempt to disguise the interests of archaeologists as altruistic devotion to preservation of national heritage.So let us get this clear, Mr Welsh says that the antiquitist study of ancient artefacts taken FROM the archaeological heritage is essential to the study of the ("internationalist", "cosmopolitan") heritage, but the actual archaeological record is not. For collectors and dealers like Welsh, it does not matter where the selection of aestetically pleasing and collectable decontextualised pieces of archaeological material come from, or what destruction was caused and information lost getting them on the market. The potential knowledge thus destroyed is, he argues, "not essential" to anybody's heritage, least of all the antiquity dealer I guess.
I think it would be hard to find a more explicit statement of commercial philistinism in the twenty first century.
Photo: relief believed to be an ancient Philistine, many antiquity collectors would add this to their collection if only it could be prized off the wall and taken out of the country - thus appropriating the Philistine heritage as their own.