Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Not Let CPAC See this Coin?

Athenian Tetradrachm (Image Courtesy of CNG, Inc.)
For over ten years, I've represented IAPN and PNG in hearings before CPAC. For all that time, I've used actual coins to illustrate the point that such artifacts circulated far beyond the borders of modern nation states claiming them to be "their cultural property."
Just as long, members of the archaeological community have used their own "props" (typically pictures of sites they allege have been looted) in their presentations. No one has ever complained. Indeed, I recall at least one time when CPAC member Sandy Boyd commented positively about the coins during a session on Italy.
Last Tuesday, I hoped to pass this attractive Athenian Tetradrachm from the Morcom Collection around along with another Greek coin and foreign copies. I thereby hoped to demonstrate that Greek coins were such important currency throughout the ancient world that they inspired local imitations. But, for some reason, it was not to be. Instead, I was told by CPAC Chair Reid that she could not accept the coins "on advice of counsel." Yet, for some reason, Professor Reid was not "advised by counsel" to reject pictures of looted tombs that were passed out by an archaeologist.
What gives? Why not let CPAC see this and the other coins?

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