Thursday, June 30, 2011

Smithsonian Caves on Shiprwreck Exhibit

The New York Times reports that the Smithsonian Institution has indefinitely postponed its plans to mount an exhibition of Chinese artifacts salvaged from a shipwreck because of opposition from archaeologists who say the objects were collected by a commercial treasure hunter in a manner that violated professional standards. See

The Smithsonian has a long history of caving into various interest groups so this is not a surprise. But it is an unfortunate decision nonetheless.

The public could have learned something useful about early international trade whether or not the exhibit met the stringent standards of some in the archaeological community.

If the material cannot be exhibited as a group, perhaps it should be sold off wholesale to collectors just to annoy these archaeological purists.

No comments: