Wednesday, 26 August 2009

US Artefact Collecting Code of Conduct

Dealers in and collectors of ancient Native American artifacts are encouraged to adhere to the Authentic Artifacts Collectors’ Association Rules of Conduct created at the end of 2007. This like the ACCG one covers mostly aspects connected with dealing as much as collecting of artifacts. It deals with a number of issues such as customer relations , the matter of authenticity, resolution of conflicts. It does also include a number of items of interest concerning the looting of archaeological sites as a source of these collectables and is worth comparing parts of it with what the naysayers in other parts of the US portable antiquity collecting world are asserting about the "impossibility" of keeping track on what items are coming from where and where they are going (the emphasis below is mine):

1.) Members shall engage in the discovery, collection, and/or sale of legally obtained artifacts only. The AACA does not condone the possession, collection, or sale of human remains. [“Those who disregard any laws pertaining to the collection or procurement of artifacts are not welcome”].

3.) All members are expected to maintain and share accurate records of artifact provenience. During artifact transactions, members are also expected to fully disclose any and all associated opinions of authenticity that have been rendered by commercial authenticators. [“The emphasis here is to provide other collectors with complete and accurate information, concerning an artifact's history, as part of any transaction”].

7.) Members must strive to educate new collectors seeking knowledge about artifact collecting. [“We believe that is what this organization is all about - members helping members to learn more about their hobby, history and how to build a clean collection”].
Good for them. I wonder if US dealers in other types of portable antiquities (such as ancient dugup coins) can aspire to the same levels of due diligence as their fellow dealers. But actually of course groups like the ACCG should logically, in the name of "collectors' rights", be fighting the "restrictive" laws which make this kind of material legal to collect in only certain very restrictive circumstances. There is no room for "no-questions-asked" collecting here.

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