Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Antiquities Conflict

Meg Lambert has an interesting post on her blog in which (against the background of this blog being targeted by metal detectorists) she asks whether the antiquities "issue" should not be seen more generally as an antiquities "conflict" ("The Illicit Antiquities Trade as Conflict vs. Issue = Scary Stuff") and that heritage blogging in such a situation is less like having a cosy chat with and about like minded people but more akin to "sitting in a redwood [...] while the chainsaws idle below you".
The illicit antiquities trade is not just an issue the way global warming is an issue; it’s an intractable conflict the same way the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is an intractable conflict, which is to say it is long-standing, has eluded resolution, appears impossible to solve, and has threatened the safety of those involved.
It's a big money business of course, but one reliant on maintaining public complacency. Saving the archaeological record from being riddled with holes like Gruyère cheese by being turned into a mine for saleable and collectable geegaws involves shaking that complacency - the origins of which have a multitude of sources. In the case of England Nigel Swift of Heritage Action (again with reference to recent events affecting this blog and its owner) has pointed out the mechanisms of part of it connected with the denuding of sites in that country by artefact hunters ('Why it matters).

The question is who is responsible for the existence of a conflict, the tree huggers or the guys with chainsaws? After all, there is "common ground", they are both interested in "trees".

No comments:

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