Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cuno and Kersel Offer Thoughtful Analysis; Egypt Offers Only More Draconian Laws

Science News has published two thoughtful articles. The first provides a more nuanced analysis of the problem of looting than one normally hears from the archaelogical community. See:

The second is an interview with Jim Cuno about the UNSESCO Convention and its impact on museums. See:

In contrast, Al-Ahram reports that the corrupt and authoritarian Egyptian government will likely make its own harsh antiquities laws even more draconian. See: One really wonders about the point of confiscating antiquities from registered collectors just so they can be installed in "archaeological storehouses" as well as the sheer folly of "copyrighting" the pyramids and other Egyptian antiquities.

If anything, Egypt will only succeed in further disconnecting its people from its ancient culture. That should be a cause for concern for everyone. One need look no further than what occurred to the Iraq Museum in the aftermath of the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime to understand what happens when a nation's past becomes appropriated by a corrupt and despotic government.

As stated previously on this blog, rather than relying exclusively on harsh laws, archaeologists and governments should investigate alternatives like the treasure act and portable antiquities scheme to encourage locals to respect their past.

1 comment:

Bill Donovan said...

thanks Peter. the three articles you linked too were interesting and informative.