Saturday 20 February 2010

Spreading the Word: Recent Podcasts on the Illicit Artefacts Trade is a project of The Conversations Network, a (U.S.) 501(c)(3) non-profit. It is a service that helps web users find, manage and share audio and video spoken-word recordings. These are found elsewhere on the Web and submitted to the database by members, it thus serves as a directory and a search engine where one can find audio and video spoken-word recordings regardless of where they are published. A contribution posted there on 17th Feb 2010 was on "Illicit Antiquities: Repatriation and Curating".

The podcast is one in a series produced by the Naked Archaeologists. For those who have not come across them before, the Naked Scientists: Science Radio & Science Podcasts are ...

a media-savvy group of physicians and researchers from Cambridge University who use radio, live lectures, and the Internet to strip science down to its bare essentials, and promote it to the general public. Their award winning BBC weekly radio programme, The Naked Scientists, reaches a potential audience of 6 million listeners across the east of England, and also has an international following on the web.
This is the sort of thing we need much more of. The podcast is an examination "of the darker world of black market archaeology; the programme discussed how illicit antiquities can be tracked down after being lost for decades and how they can be returned to their country of origin". There is also a mention of "Chippendale's law" on the antiquities trade, and a discussion of the Irish view by Richard Warner of the Portable Antiquities Scheme ("things like treasure hunting...." go on in England, not in Ireland, and how the Irish system encourages truthful reporting). One speaker talks of "heritage of place" which is worth deeper consideration. This is interspersed with information on the remains of fast food eaten in the original Globe Theatre in London, DNA studies of the migrations into North America, and the typology of post-Medieval gravestones in British churchyards. Well worth a listen (lasts 32 minutes).

Naked Archaeology presenter Diana O'Carroll was chosen to represented the project when it received a European award for the best podcasts (interview here).

Cambridge's 'Naked Archaeology' should not be confused with film producer Simcha Jakobovici who also labels himself 'The Naked Archaeologist', most known for his announcement of the so-called "Lost Tomb of Jesus" (which presented the controversial and ultimately untenable theory that the so-called Talpiot tomb was the burial place of Jesus' family).

Vignette: Naked Archaeology logo; naked broadcasting photo from their website.

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