Friday 21 May 2010

Buying and Selling Tainted Antiquities

Marc Fehlmann commented "I totally agree that the main objective should be to protect the sites. Making tainted antiquities "unsalable" may be a solution and it surely is an admirable goal". The problem with making laws work is of course, he admits, "individual greed" in the face of the existence of a market currently perfectly willing to buy any number of less-than-legally-acquired artefacts no-questions-asked. While museums and certain large dealers now may be trending towards more ethical acquisition policies, it is "the trade of tainted antiquities in private hands" which is the problem with which "national laws and international agreements are not enough to stop".
International drug trafficking organizations have never respected nor accepted national boundaries or laws. So why should those trafficking antiquities be any different?
This highlights the basic problem, in a secretive trade permeated by illegally obtained artefacts, the potential of suppliers dealing with criminal elements is obviously very high. Certainly high enough to make this a problem that nobody buying antiquities these days should ignore. But they do.

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