Tuesday 11 May 2010

Aharrrr! Straight to the Heart of the "Flawed Reasoning" of Barford

Alfredo de la Fe announces that he feels called out in some way to make a response to something he read here. Speaking of a post I wrote a few days ago: "he draws a parallel between the trade in pirated music CD’s and the antiquities trade" which "goes straight to the heart of the flawed reasoning of Barford and friends". Ooo-er eh?

De la Fe argues that when CDs are pirated royalties are lost. But in the case of a Roman artefact, the original owner "is unknown and will in all likelihood never be known. Chances are that he (or she), his children and even his grandchildren have been dust for many centuries". See? Logical innit? Culture theft is according to the US dealer in imported dugup artefacts a victimeless crime.

The notion of archaeological record or collectable objects in it being part of a common heritage which should be used for the eventual benefit of all is dismissed by this US antiquities dealer as a "Communist ideal". Furthermore he assures his readers that if an artefact
"is turned over to the government authorities, at best it ends up in a bin somewhere never to be studied, outside of the reach of [...] researchers and at worst, the government agent that receives it is corrupt and sells it [...]".
We are talking here about the Italy MOU by the way.

I really do not understand how these people can come out so uncritically with statements which on the one hand insist there is no common cultural heritage, and yet express their "collectors' rights" in terms of these objects being part of some common heritage which is theirs too. De La Fe is surely being disingenuous when asserting that the original owner of the objects are dead and cannot claim their lost property, and so looting is merely a case of "finders keepers" and "free enterprise". So if the archaeological record and its contents are NOT a heritage, why do the same dealers insist all nations should adopt a Portable-Antiquities-Scheme-Clone system to deal with archaeological finds? Why would Iraq, Italy, Egypt, Nigeria and Bulgaria or any other country be asked to scrap existing legislation and adopt this type of measure if NOT for the justification that the archaeological record and its contents are a common heritage and making a record of what is found available for public use is one way of using it?

Once again, we find that the coin dealers making excuses, in this case Alfredo de la Fe, are simply not making any sense. This seems to me to be another exhibition of the symptoms of the apparent disorder of the cognitive facilities of the central nervous system brought on by prolongued contact with ancient dugup artefacts in a domestic environment that seems to afflict increasing numbers of the artefact collecting community. Sadly there seems to be no remedy.
Vignette: Slightly mad and not very convincing pirate of the Caribbean


Paul Barford said...

Alfredo de la Fe sent a comment that I did not here discuss the last two paragraphs of the blog post to which I give a link. He is right, I did not because they are not at all germane to the topic of the alleged "flaw" in what I have been saying which is what I am discussing here.

Mr de la Fe however offered nothing on that topic in his comment wich seems to be an attempt to change the subject. So I am not allowing it as off-topic. Thanks.

Paul Barford said...

[By the way, the notion Alfredo of "scheduled" sites is contained in the ACCG code of Ethics, as well as already embodied in the legislation of a number of the source countries from which come the coins your fellow collectors collect - but wjithout checking whether any of those coins come from such sites - I am surprised therefore that as an ACCG dealer you seem not to have come across it. Of course the USA ARPA has a blanket protection of everything in the ground in publc lands, maybe you should get this changed?]

Paul Barford said...

...if you are so concerned about "collectors' rights" that is...

Damien Huffer said...

Crying "communist" or "socialist" about one's political opponents, or those generally in favor of changing ineffective systems, is tactic #1 in US right-wing politics these days. It's use in the antiquities trade arena is no surprise to me :(

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