Monday, September 16, 2013

Unprovenanced Egyptian artifacts for Sale in Washington, D.C. suburb?

Anti-collector archaeologists have maintained that artifacts without a demonstrable provenance back before 1970 must be considered looted.  They also suggest that any earlier provenance solely based on the say-so of the consignor cannot be trusted.  Thus, one wonders if the archaeological blogosphere will condemn former U.S. Speaker of the House Tom Foley, his wife, and his wife's mother for the sale of these Egyptian artifacts "purchased in the 1960's."  

I certainly would cast no such stones.  Egyptian artifacts have been legally collected for generations.  I think it's wrong to suggest otherwise without proof to the contrary.  But that probably is not the way the self-appointed moralists of  the archaeological blogosphere would see it. 

1 comment:

Cultural Property Observer said...

Arthur Houghton asked me to post this:

"Peter when I served in Egypt in the 1960s and 1970s, it was routine for Egyptian officials to pour gifts on visiting dignitaries. They included shawabtis and papyrus fragments, and other artifacts that the Egyptian Museum did not want and could not handle, and were turned over in the hundreds to visitors from other countries. Of course these are not looted -- they were gifted by a grateful nation.

Warm regards,