Sunday, July 20, 2014
The problem with activists is that they are often absolutists. That is certainly true amongst the activists in the archaeological community, and perhaps even more true when it comes to animal rights activists who are lobbying against the ivory trade. For some reason, they also seem opposed to the trade in antique ivory though apparently it is quite possible to tell old from new. The latest venue for this battle against collecting is in New Jersey. Of course, ban modern ivory, but a ban that does not contain an exemption for antiques puts many artifacts of significant art historical or even archaeological value at risk.
If tomb robbing is wrong, isn't it all the worse when the State then adds insult to injury by taking the contents that have been recovered from the decedent's family?
Yet, where is the outrage from the archaeological community? Or, do they actually support State over family ownership of grave goods?
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
As civil war grinds on in Syria and Iraq, American heritage professionals are doing what they can to help local museum curators preserve the artifacts in their care. Of course, this won't stop the iconoclasts of ISIS from smashing historic artifacts and religious items for show, but it will provide some tools to those who care to help preserve what they can. At least the Western-leaning Syrian rebels and the Assad Regime are basically on the same page about the need to preserve Syria's magnificent cultural heritage.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Archaeo- blogger Paul Barford has made what appears to be a heartfelt plea that tombs not be disturbed to satisfy collectors. But then, shouldn't the Mummy's curse also fall upon archaeologists who excavate tombs and steal grave goods from the deceased or even remove their remains? CPO seems to recall reading that Barford himself was involved many years ago in the excavation of the grave of a Polish Noblewoman. If so, how's this really any different in the end as far as the deceased in concerned? If graves should not be disturbed, that should be the case across the board.
The International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities has yet to respond to requests for the release of the text of its agreement with the Egyptian Military Dictatorship. While many of the Coalition's projects appear non-controversial, why the secrecy, particularly when Coalition members are public charities that have preached a need for transparency in sales between private parties?
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
The Egyptian Military Dictatorship, fresh from demanding the US Government stop the legal trade in undocumented Egyptian artifacts, has now demanded that the Borough of Northampton stop the sale of an Egyptian artifact long in its possession. Will British local government stand up to these imperialists against such meddling? Surely so. Will our US State Department also show some spine and stand up for US small businesses, collectors and Museums? Sadly, probably not given indications that the MOU with Egypt has already been pre-judged after some behind the scenes lobbying by politically connected archaeological organizations with a vested interest in the corrupt status quo in that troubled country.
Monday, July 7, 2014
The Committee on Cultural Policy has published a newsletter focusing on Egypt. Stories touch on a lack of transparency in the archaeological lobby's dealings with the Egyptian government, exaggerations about an art/terror connection and an analysis of the recent appellate court decision allowing the Saint Louis Art Museum to keep the Ka-Nefer-Nefer mummy mask. The newsletter also covers other important stories including new legislation in New York that effectively bans the trade in antique ivory objects, some of which have considerable artistic merit or historic value.