Saturday, 20 September 2014

Scattered Archives, Institutional Untrustworthyness: Why Partage Was Never a Good Idea

With regard to the upcoming Bonhams sale of antiquities currently in the care of the AIA (the so-called Treasure of Harageh* Lot 160), Douglas Boin and T Finan (both professors in the Department of History at St. Louis University) have written a hard-hitting article in the St Louis Post-Despach "Egyptian Artifacts Should Be Returned Not Auctioned Off":

Monica Hanna, an Egyptian archaeologist who has worked tirelessly to protect and retrieve Egypt’s cultural heritage in recent years, said, “If the St. Louis Society wants to divest themselves of their Egyptian artifacts, I have no doubt that Egypt would gladly offer to take them back.” We asked the leadership of the St. Louis Society to explain their reasons for the sale, including how it plans to use the proceeds, but did not receive a response. The board of directors is scheduled to meet Saturday. Members of the St. Louis archaeological community are justly outraged that they weren’t consulted about the society’s decision. [...] Why is the St. Louis society proceeding in the face of so much local and national opposition? It can’t be for lack of display space in the city. We’re confident that many St Louis institutions would gladly work with the society to house the artifacts, if not to adequately present the storied history of these items to a wider public. The society should halt the sale of its “treasure” immediately.
but it turns out that this is not an isolated case. Boin notes Lot 162, An Egyptian alabaster-travertine headrest of the First Intermediate Period was also excavated at the site, from half-way up a shaft in Cemetery E. Yet a further item flogged off by the AIA in St Louis has come back on the market. Boin mentions an inscribed block from a wall in an inner room of Akhenaten's River Temple at Tell Amarna, excavated during the 1922 season of the Egyptian Exploration Society under the direction of Sir Leonard Woolley then in the AIA collections, received from the Egyptian Exploration Society in the 1920s, but acquired in the early 1970s by the 'Claude Harkins Collection' (Kansas City, Missouri, USA) and recently back on sale as Lot 150 in Bonham's April 2014 Auction 21926.
* A misdescription they are grave goods excavated in 1913-14 by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt from Tomb 124 at Harageh, the Fayum, near Lahun.

No comments:

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