Sunday, April 7, 2013

Far Away from the Archaeo-Blogosphere...

I enjoyed accompanying another collector who spoke to two classes of 7th and 8th Graders about ancient coins and what they can tell us about ancient societies.   Teaching about ancient history is woefully inadequate in our nation's classrooms, so it was great to find a school where the classics are still king and where the kids were both knowledgeable and engaged in the subject matter.

All this raises another point that does directly touch on "cultural property" issues.  The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) spends $500 million a year promoting "cultural understanding."  But, I can't help but think that ancient coin collectors do the same thing every time they talk to a class, discuss ancient history and coins, or interact with foreign collectors and dealers, and all at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.  

One can only wonder if Assistant Secretary, ECA Ann Stock has any clue about the negative impact the actions of her Cultural Heritage Center have had on coin collectors and the good work they do promoting cultural understanding on a people to people basis.   If it's really about protecting archaeological sites rather than encouraging jingoistic nationalism, why promote-- as ECA's Cultural Heritage Center has done-- import restrictions based on a coin's place of production rather than it's find spot?

No comments: