Wednesday 21 October 2009

Dig your own – no questions asked

My attention has been drawn to a post on another blog which might raise a few eyebrows (David Connolly: Dig your own – Ethics of pay to dig out entire sites BAJR Blogspot). Of course what is described is totally legal, some archaeological sites in the US are by historical accident on federally-owned land and are thus protected by the state in whose ownership they are. Other archaeological sites happen to be on privately-owned land and the owner can do what he likes with them. So we see the effects... Do click on David's link to Digfest and have a good look at the photos...

This is as David Connolly notes an ethical question, not a matter of what is merely within the letter of the law. I'd like to know how the collector's rights advocates (especially the "coiney" ones) have to say about this kind of destruction of the archaeological record so that collectors can have something to collect. it may be legal Mr Sayles/Tompa/Welsh/all the rest of you dugup coin selling and collecting individuals, but is it "right"? Connolly used the Isin photos as an analogy, I'd personally use the Archar ones - the coins bought and sold in the USA come primarily from southeaster European sites like that. And there is is not even legal, and certainly not "right".

There is a page of US arrowhead collectors getting ethical about the destruction caused by "raubgrabung" of archaeological sites (actually I see no difference to what they are fighting and the average Metal detecting rally in the UK) - where is the corresponding one of US coin collectors wonder? I've not seen many yet (I can only recall this somewhat incomplete one at the moment) - maybe somebody would like to point us all to a few more....
Photo: new cash crop for US farmers (from '' ).

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