The archaeological blogosphere is seeking to make the most of Peter Weiss' article in the ANS Magazine. While I don't have much to quibble with concerning Peter's recommendations-- at least as they relate to purchasing very expensive ancient coins-- one must also acknowledge that the article was written under duress as part of a plea deal, and one wonders if getting the article vetted by members of the archaeological lobby was some sort of requirement. It is of particular note that John Russell, a former (or current?) State Department employee also associated with the archaeological lobby (but not known as an expert in coins) is specifically mentioned in the introduction as one of Weiss' editors. Did prosecutor Bogdanos want to help his friends in the State Department justify their much criticized decision making concerning import restrictions on coins by "suggesting" that Russell and other members of the archaeological lobby be given editorial rights? The article certainly fails to mention some of the problems with the archaeological orthodoxy, including poor stewardship of coin finds by archaeologists and countries like Greece, Cyprus and Italy. And let us not forget that unprovenanced coins are widely collected in each of the countries for which the US has granted import restrictions. Yet, I hear no US archaeologist or State Department official criticizing such practices.
For more about Russell's apparent transformation from sanctions breaker to rule maker, see an earlier blog.
Update: As some in the archaeological blogosphere purport to want me to respond to the topics raised in Peter Weiss' article, here again is a link to the article I wrote for the ANS Magazine. I can also assure CPO readers that my own article was not written under duress. Nor was it vetted by members of the archaeological lobby before publication.