Saturday 29 June 2013

Anonymous Swiss Collector 2: Unlooted Wari tombs and looted Wari objects

Donna (Anonymous Swiss Collector) Yates has got her second video-blog out already. I have to mention this one ("Unlooted Wari tombs and looted Wari objects")  for two reasons. The first is that it starts off by referring to the discovery in Peru of one of the very very few unlooted Wari elite tombs at El Castillo de Huarmey by Milosz Giersz and his University of Warsaw team. The second is that she then goes on to discuss statements made by a representative of the Cleveland Museum about wanting to attract scholars to the Wari via the museum's purchase and display of objects looted from Wari tombs. 

I love this moment: "It should be quite obvious what I am going to say... [pause] but I am going to say it anyway [pause]... because museums and collectors have been willing in the past to buy looted elite Wari items... " I guess the more intelligent among my readers can guess the rest. 

As she says "It is so difficult to deal with this attitude, it is so hard to understand, and it's often hard to present to people outside the archaeological world where this all falls apart, but I think this is a very good case to illustrate the disconnect between actual legitimate and very good archaeological work and the idea that looted objects like these have any value for scholarship later ... it's so frustrating [to] have to contend with the situation where lovely Wari things are in collections and museum officials are publicly stating that they are doing me, and you, a favour, I do not think that is right [...] support actual archaeological excavation of the Wari and not the display of looted Wari artefacts in the name of Wari scholarship". 


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