Thursday, 20 October 2016

European Association of Archaeologists issues statement of concern on illicit objects in the licit market

Dr Lynda Albertson of ARCA ('European Association of Archaeologists issues statement of concern on illicit objects in the licit market') reproduces a recent statement of concern of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) regarding an October 25, 2016 auction at Christie's New York previously reported on ARCA's blog on October 11, 2016 which includes an object traceable to the confiscated Robin Symes archive. Taking this as a starting point and with reference to the dealings of Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides the Statement of the Committee on Illicit Trade in Cultural Materials to an Ongoing Auction at Christie’s makes a number of points in a way which suggests that patience is running out and the EAA has little hope that the antiquities market will regulate itself (see the discussion of the issue of making the polaroid archives available to dealers):
The Roman marble figurine of a draped goddess, lot 92 in the forthcoming Christie's auction, is a typical example of an antiquity on offer: true commercial sources are hidden or not identified; we have an incomplete collecting history employing a chronological generalization ('prior to 1991') and the true country of origin - that is, the place from which the antiquity originally came/was discovered - is not identified. This analysis of the way in which this figurine is presented by the antiquities market encapsulates the state of the market and is a revelation of its deficient practices; this is the true value of this identification.
The Committee on the Illicit Trade on Cultural Material highly deplores such sales and urges every auction house to accurately verify the origin of the objects on sale, and refuse objects with doubtful provenance. In accordance with our statutes, we report any illegal activity, or trade of potentially illegally-acquired material culture. Furthermore, we aim to contribute in any form to discourage commercialisation of archaeological material.
As far as I know, the UK's CIfA has not yet got a 'Committee on the Illicit Trade on Cultural Material' and it is about time that it had.

1 comment:

lalbertson said...

Christie's has withdraw the object from the upcoming auction.

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