Thursday 27 May 2010

Bullying Tactics within Archaeology

As I mentioned above, just a few hours after collector David Knell made a post on his 'Ancient heritage' blog, Peter Tompa pounced on him, posting a comment castigating him for being "a bit naive". He claims that "collectors and dealers groups have attempted to reach out to the main archaeological groups to discuss the issues, but without any success or even much interest". He uses the plural but then continues to discuss the Archaeological Institute of America, which "bullies" organizations like the American Association of Museum Directors.
One of the truly sad things is that archaeologists that do want to continue good relations with collectors and reach some accomodation have been intimidated from pursing the issue openly. [...] the ACCG and coin dealers have no power to blackball collectors who disagree. "Hardline" archaeologists do. The prospect of having one's excavation license pulled by a source country based on complaints that an archaeologist is "soft on looting" by being "soft on collecting" has been enough to keep the silent majority in the archaeological community silent indeed about reaching an accomodation with collectors.
Really? The phrase "archaeologists do" implies that lawyer Tompa can produce evidence that this is the case, that individual US archaeologists have had their excavation licence "pulled" (eh?) because of a complaint to a foreign government by the AIA (?) that at home they are "soft on collectors". Any continent Mr Tompa, take your pick, but some hard evidence to back up these continuing claims that an alleged substantial body of "collector-friendly archaeologists" are bullied into submission by "radicals". I have a simpler explanation, that while indiscriminate collecting continues to shield the trade in illicitly obtained artefacts, most archaeologists look askance at anone involved, directly and indirectly in it. No bullying, simply distaste for poor hygiene.

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