Saturday, 7 February 2015

Vigilant Collecting, Lamp Types found in Syria

Lamp types found
in Syria (David Knell)
This is a very useful idea, a specialist in ancient lamps, David Knell has put together an infographic 'Constant Vigilance: Lamps found in Syria' (Ancient heritage Friday, 6 February 2015). This has been done in response to the widespread looting and destruction of archaeological sites in Syria exacerbated by the deep civil unrest in that area since the spring of 2011.
Looting is driven by market demand and it is therefore vital that anyone considering the acquisition of any ancient object that may have originated in Syria should be particularly vigilant. Archaeological sites are trashed by looters searching for common saleable objects every bit as much as they are by looters searching for rare treasures. Supplementing the somewhat inadequate Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk issued by ICOM in September 2013, and in recognition of guidelines outlined by the EU (Council Regulation No 1332/2013 of 13 December 2013), I thought it might be useful to publish a small selection of the types of ancient lamps that are typically found in that region [...] while some of the lamps shown are peculiar to Syria, most of those shown were also produced or distributed in neighbouring countries in ancient times [...] Due diligence should of course be practised in the acquisition of any ancient artefact whatever its region of origin at any time but it is good to be aware of those whose acquisition may pose a particular threat to archaeological sites in the present crisis.
I would be grateful if readers could point out any other examples of the production of 'watch out with these' guides for other collectable antiquity types from the region prompted by the current crisis, Roman glass or ancient and medieval coins for example. Are any dealers or dealers' associations producing such material for the benefit of concerned and responsible collectors?

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