Saturday, 21 August 2010

Canadian Cultural Property "Rot at the Top" too?

I mentioned earlier the post on Moneta-L which, among other things, alleged that in dealing with illegally exported archaeological material, it is "obvious now that the rot goes close to the top!". The author of those words is Canadian, writing of the heritage policies south of the border in the USA. It strikes me that from the North American continent we see an awful lot of no-questions-asked griping aout US policies, and in comparison virtually nothing about Canadian policies. Why is that? Are Canadian authorities even worse at enforcing them than US ones, so its not a problem for collectors what "laws" exist, that they can all be easily side-stepped? Or on the contrary are Canadians more amenable to understanding why these laws exist and out of concern to do their own bit to curb looting are abiding by them accordingly? Or is it political, that there so few collectors of dugups in Canada that they feel they will not be heard even if they kick up a fuss? How many antiquity collectors are there in Canada, what do they collect and how, how many dealers are there? Why is there not a Canadian ACCG and that people from north of the border therefore have to join in with the activities of the ACCG down south?

There is an interesting discussion document published online on the Canadian Heritage website in 2008 that seems not to have received much discussion in the usual North American no-questions-asked collecting/dealing circles (probably has too many big words for the usual culprits, who are in any case more concerned about looking after their own commercial interests): Strengthening the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.

It would be interesting to look at the phenomenon of opposition to a regulated and transparent trade in legally acquired antiquities in the five English-speaking milieus, the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. What similarities and differences would we see and to what would they be attributed? For too long the aggressive US dealers' lobby has tended to dominate discussions, but there are other milieus with their own problems and social backgrounds, let's hear more about and from them.

No comments:

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