Thursday 24 May 2012

New Book Out: the Impact of Looting and the Illicit Antiquities Trade on Our Knowledge of the Past

The Society for American Archaeology have recently published a new book of interest to readers on both sides of the antiquities collecting fence: "All the King's Horses: Essays on the Impact of Looting and the Illicit Antiquities Trade on Our Knowledge of the Past", Edited by Paula K. Lazrus and Alex Barker 2012.

The title is significant, obviously referring to the nursery rhyme (that "all the King's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again") which brings attention to the destruction of evidence by the removal of objects, while collectors of course like to think of themselves as "saving" the objects from lying in the earth, or somebody else getting their hands on them.

 After the introductiony article by the editors (All the King's Horses : An Introduction /​ Alex W. Barker and Paula Kay Lazrus ), the book has some useful essays in it:

  • The Economics of the Looted Archaeological Site of Bab edh-Dhra' : A View from Google Earth /​ Neil Brodie and Daniel A. Contreras
  • The Material and Intellectual Consequences of Acquiring the Sarpedon Krater /​ David Gill
  • Moot Loot Speaks : Classical Archaeology and the Displaced Object /​ Stephen L. Dyson
  • Unprovenienced Artifacts and the Invention of Minoan and Mycenaean Religion /​ Senta C. German
  • Early looting and destruction of Australian shipwreck sites : legislation, education and an amnesty for long-term preservation /​ Jennifer Rodrigues
  • The Trade in Fresh Supplies of Ancient Coins : Scale, Organization and Politics /​ Nathan T. Elkins
  • The social and political consequences of devotion to Biblical artifacts /​ Neil Brodie and Morag M. Kersel
  • What "All the Kings Horses" has to say to American Archaeologists /​ Ann M. Early.
SAA Member Discount Price: $21.95; Nonmember price: $26.95
At the moment there are no plans to make it "open access" for cheapskate coin collectors who cannot be bothered to buy books (and call it "lack of transparency" when they cannot get what they want on a plate for free).

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