Sunday 7 March 2010

What Were the President's "Advisors" Thinking? (If they were)

In 2007, the President of the United States’ Cultural Property Advisory Committee determined that the cultural heritage of Cyprus continues to be in jeopardy from pillage of certain archaeological objects and ethnological materials to serve the international market in such items. Accordingly the import restrictions on certain categories of antiquities from Cyprus were extended a further five years.

The coin collecting lobby insists (see here and here) that the CPAC denied that “Coins constitute an inseparable part of the archaeological record of the island, and, like other archaeological objects, they are vulnerable to pillage and illicit export” and therefore need not be included in the extension of the import restrictions. This is what the coin dealers' lobby allege. Is this the case, and on what basis would the CPAC have made such an extraordinary statement? When is an archaeological artefact not an archaeological artefact? When is a relic of the past not a relic of the past? What actually was the CPAC's position on dugup coins?

Photo: Who appointed the Committee anyway?

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