Saturday 27 June 2009

"The ACCG has always condemned illicit digging on archaeological sites".

The executive director of the Ancient Coin collectors' Guild Wayne Sales, criticising Dr David Gill's "ignorance and malevolence" states
The ACCG has always condemned illicit digging on archaeological sites.
In actual fact I cannot see that explicit statement on their website. Perhaps they should remedy this and at the same time issue a firm statement whether they condone their members buying coins and other artefacts which seem likely - given the current state of the no-question-asked market- to have come from such illicit digging. Recommending in no uncertain terms that the ethical collector takes all possile steps to ensure that they are not contributing to the process by being even if inadvertantly) a consumer of its products.

Sayles asks apparently rhetorically whether even if the ACCG/PNG/IAPN lawsuit against the US government "were commercially motivated, so what? Is commerce immoral or against the law?" (see also ACCG's former president Tompa on this). Well, of course the answer is that if that commerce is generally believed to be financing, aiding and abetting the destruction of an important and finite resource, the the answer is yes, it is immoral. When those involved in such commerce could well take steps to minimise their participation in the destruction of archaeological sites for merely commercial reasons, then, yes, it is immoral if it does nothing. If however an enlightened nation sets up some system to aid another country cut down on the erosion f its archaeological heritage by the market, and a grouop of dealers and selfish collectors fight it in order to overturn it, well, that would be immoral too would't it?

Mr Sayles and the ancient coin collectors of the United States and Belgium can call the preservationists all the names they want. They usually do. It does not make what they are engaged in any the more moral. Indeed it shows the world all to clearly how limited the sense of morality of ancient coin collectors is.

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