Tuesday 1 February 2011

Egypt Looting: How Will We Respond?

SAFE raises the question this morning, 'Threats to Egypt’s cultural heritage: How will we respond?':
As with the Iraq situation, we will probably not know all the facts for some time. But while information about the exact scope of the destruction - and who did what - is still being assessed, what we do know for certain is that one of the world’s richest and oldest cultural heritages is at risk. One artifact looted or destroyed is one too many. We also know this: Egyptian antiquities can fetch huge sums. In December, 2010 alone, 13 artifacts reportedly sold at Sotheby’s for a total of $9,789,500. So how will we respond?
Dealers and collectors have already decided that the problem is not one of the loss of another part of the global cultural heritage, but the fact that drawing attention to it still further weakens the case for (if any exists) a no-questions-asked market in dugup antiquities. So collector Candice Jarman says the market is not to blame, as does antiquity dealer Alfredo De La Fe. Jarman suggests that the Cairo Museum break-in was an act of protest - placing the blame on PhDiva. Cultural Property Observer suggests its all an 'inside job' and drags out the spectre of nationalism. Welsh (going against the evidence) says that "citizens of "source nations" such as Egypt for the most part" actually have very little interest in preserving their culture. I wonder what is going on over on Tim Haines' "Yahoo Ancient Artifacts" collectors discussion list? I think we can all guess.

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