Saturday 24 April 2010

What the looters are looking for

From an article I am writing for a volume of collected texts on treasure hunting (anti- of course!) which is taking me a long time to finish, I thought I'd just post up a little bit which might be of wider interest:
The commercial diggers are clearly interested in specific types of material. Typically of the antiquities assigned to European cultures in antiquities section of the US-based eBay for example most are Roman. On 1st April 2010, 7121 European antiquities were being offered for sale, 66% of them were listed as “Roman”, 11 % were listed as “Greek”, and 18% as medieval. There is a tendency for the artefacts sold to be those of decorative type, in particular those to which ethnonyms can be applied (apart from "Roman" and "Greek" we commonly find “Anglo Saxon”, “Viking”, “Frankish”, “Avar”). The figures for the ancient coins being offered on the same day were similar, 69% were Roman coin lots, 15% ancient Greek ones, 6% medieval coins and 4% Celtic coins. Many of the Roman category were “bulk lots” of lower grade Roman coins (sometimes mixed with other artefacts) which are clearly the products of the selection of the better finds from the large-scale stripping of metal objects from targeting Roman sites.
This is of course what last year's Nighthawking survey in Britain found, illegal artefact hunting was targetting in particular Roman sites, full of whole or broken ("partifacts") metal objects, personal ornaments galore, coins and other such commercially viable, because collector-attracting, geegaws.

I suppose it is not so much "what the looter is looking for" but "what the dealer is looking for because it sells well".

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.