Thursday, 31 March 2011

Urice and Adler Redraft

Cultural Property Observer triumphantly trumpets: Urice and Adler Update on US Government Lawlessness in Cultural Property Field . I discussed the earlier version of this text here a while back. "Government lawlessness" seems to be the new Black Hat Guys catchword (where "Cosmopolitanism" and "cultural property internationalism" were last year). I must admit to feeling when discussing the earlier draft of this text that Urice and Adler were firmly in the camp of the antiquitist no-questions-askers. This time round I note something Tompa cannot bring himself to mention ("observe") and the CPRI seminar would obviously never have stooped to consider; the authors mention the need to reform the CCPIA to make it work to protect the cultural heritage, instead of calling for the abandonment of the concept. The CCPIA of the early 1980s is vastly out of date as a means to deal with the changed form of the ("minor") antiquities market that has occurred since it was passed and the scope of the threat to the global archaeological heritage from looting worldwide, and the current scale of the US market for such items ("no questions asked"). The other legislation of the US discussed by Urice and Adler similarly pathetically inadequate. Let us see the US reform them in a way which actually does help protect the global cultural heritage (not just archaeological) from the illegal exploitation caused by the unbridled avarice of some dealers and collectors. After all what would responsible collectors and dealers have to fear from increased transparency and more effective measures to keep illicitly-obtained material off one of the largest markets for antiquities in the modern world?

UPDATE 15th July 2011:
It is worth noting that among the changes between the first and second draft, the intended recipient of the Miami sarcophagus is renamed from Joseph A. Lewis III to Joseph A. Lewis II. Carelessness.

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