Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Where the Portable Antiquities are Going?

This map shows where members of the Yahoo Ancient Antiquities Group forum are logging in from (it seems to be mapping clusters of individual servers). This would indicate to a large degree where there are people sitting behind computers interested in the market in portable antiquities - mostly one would presume (from the profile of the list itself), in buying them. The breakdown of countries is interesting:

Current Country Totals From 17 Sep 2008 to 16 Mar 2009
United States (US) 2,534
United Kingdom (GB) 1,511
Italy (IT) 231
Spain (ES) 218
Australia (AU) 201
Germany (DE) 184
Canada (CA) 164
Netherlands (NL) 106
Sweden (SE) 96

Chile (CL) 79
France (FR) 60
Israel (IL) 41
South Africa (ZA) 39
Egypt (EG) 33
Brazil (BR) 28
New Zealand (NZ) 25
India (IN) 25
Greece (GR) 23
Belgium (BE) 22
Poland (PL) [Tut tut...] 21
Yemen (YE) 18
Switzerland (CH) 18
Turkey (TR) 16
Hong Kong (HK) 16
Pakistan (PK) 13
Singapore (SG) 12
Philippines (PH) 11
Japan (JP) 10

Less than ten: Portugal 9, Indonesia 8, Finland 8, Czech
Republic 8, Denmark 6, Ireland 6, Saudi Arabia 4, Norway 4, Bulgaria 3, Russian Federation 3, Serbia 3, Iran 3, China 3, Mexico 3, Austria 2, United Arab Emirates 2, Lithuania 2, Peru 2, Slovenia 2, Lebanon 2, Taiwan 2, Croatia 2, Romania 2. One each: Jamaica , Puerto Rico, Estonia, Uruguay, Malaysia,
Thailand, Luxembourg, "Europe" (Eh?), Qatar, Palestinian Territory, Bahamas, Georgia, Macau, Ukraine, Vietnam.

These figures are interesting from several points of view. The dots on the map do not correspond simply with countries where knowledge of English is greatest, though I suspect that some EU countries are underrepresented because its natives tend not to favour English as a means of international communication - preferring French as their ligua franca for example. Above all we see the difference between countries which are the sources of the most commonly collected "portable antiquities" (generally low on the list) and the countries where we have ample evidence from other sources of a large and expanding market for such "commodities" (Britain, the US). It is clear that the pattern to some extent coincides in general terms with the global distribution of disposable wealth. It is tempting to see this map as in some way reflecting the direction of flow of portable antiquities (much of it illegal) from the "source countries" to the major "market countries". If so, the scale and role of the market of Great Britain here is pretty shocking. The truth is the market is such that we really have no idea of the scale or direction of this traffic. I post this map here as a signal, that perhaps we jolly well should.

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