Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Recommended Reading: Derek Fincham's Take on the Treasure Act and PAS

Derek Fincham, a teaching fellow at Loyola New Orleans Law School and a blogger on cultural property issues (see:, has argued that the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has been quite successful in the UK and Wales and should be considered elsewhere. Fincham's article is entitled, "A Coordinated Legal and Policy Approach to Undiscovered Antiquities: Adapting the Cultural Heritage Policy of England and Wales to Other Nations of Origin." It can be found in Volume 15, No. 3 2008 of the International Journal of Cultural Property at page347.

Here is the flavor of Fincham's work from his abstract: "The domestic legal framework for portable antiquities in England and Wales is unique and differs from the typical approach. Coupled with the PAS this legal structure has resulted in better cultural policy, which leads to less looting of important archaeological sites, allows for a tailored cultural policy, and has produced more data and contextual information with which to conduct historical and archaeological research on an unprecedented scale. Compensating finders of antiquities may even preclude an illicit market in antiquities so long as this compensation is substantially similar to the market price of the object and effectively excludes looters from this reward system."

It's nice to finally see an academic like Fincham getting beyond the largely punitive approach favored by "authorities" like the Archaeological Institute of America ("AIA"), Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute ("CAARI") and Saving Antiquities for Everyone ("SAFE").

For more about the Treasure Act and PAS see:

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