Sunday 14 March 2010

"Scholars with Pro-Collector, Pro-Trade, Pro-Museum Views" on IADAA website

Washington lawyer, coin collector, conspiracy theorist and cultural property peeper Peter Tompa in rather belligerent terms comments on the recent posts made by David Gill and myself on the page on the IADAA webpage which purports to show that "scholars" are behind the aims of the IADAA. He writes (" IADAA Presents Pro-Collector, Pro-Trade, Pro-Museum Views on Cultural Property Issues: So What? ") that
The IADAA is free to post what it wishes on its website on this subject. The views the IADAA expresses are no more unbalanced than what one finds on the websites of pro-archaeological groups like the Archaeological Institute of America or Saving Antiquities for Everyone. Gill's and Barford's complaints to the contrary are just plain silly.
What we pointed out was that the vast majority of the quotes trotted out by the IADAA to show that "scholars approve" came from one book and were selected to promote a single view. They certainly do not accurately reflect the views of informed scholars generally about the antiquities trade. I do not see that it is "silly" to point that out. It is notable how often the no-questions-collecting advocates cling to the illusion that they are in some way allied to academia. Coin collecting is allegedly an academic activity (like train spotting), ancient coin dealers are not shopkeepers but "professional numismatists". The ACCG is not going to some dozy conference of some loopy Britarchaeologists who want to be friends with artefact collectors, but they are going to present a paper at "Newcastle University". All a bit pathetic really.

See now Larry Rothman, The Punching Bag's useful comments on the IADAA's selection of quotes from scholars: "Some scholars' opinions" collated by antiquities dealers.

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