Thursday, May 30, 2013
Blame the Victim?
While some in the archaeological blogosphere dismiss questions raised about poor stewardship of cultural resources in source countries as nothing more than "blaming the victim," others take a far more thoughtful view of the subject. Arthur Houghton suggested in a comment on a recent blog post on CPO that source countries should forfeit their rights to demand repatriation when they fail to take care of their own cultural patrimony. Now, Yale educated archaeologist Sally Johnson raises the same issues on the Art World Intelligence Blog. In so doing, Johnson discusses the casual destruction of a Mayan pyramid in Belize to provide road building materials. Johnson asks, "What rules can be put in place—and enforced—to prevent such intentional destruction if the 'owner' of the 'property' chooses to destroy it?" Ironically, just this year the State Department granted Belize a MOU that supposedly will assist that country "preserve its own cultural patrimony."