Friday, May 29, 2015

What's There to Hide?

Archaeo-blogger and anti-coin trade advocate Nathan Elkins has accused CPO of misrepresenting his views about the circulation of ancient coins.   Yet, Elkins has been cagey about not making his work easily accessible to anyone but like-minded academics.  Indeed, Elkins has even gone so far as to avoid making his comments to CPAC public by refusing to post  them on the website. (CPO is puzzled by his statement that CPO refused to post his comments on this blog.  Only one fellow archaeo-blogger is banned based on the tenor of his comments.)  If Elkins is really concerned about his views about coin circulation being misrepresented, he can easily remedy that concern by making his papers and CPAC comments public.  Really, what's there to hide?


Dave Welsh said...

In my opinion, the "anticollecting" archaeologists, in whose company I would include Dr. Elkins, have a great deal to hide.

First, their constantly repeated demands for provenance do not take into account the very salient fact that provenance is generally not required by law (including the 1970 UNESCO Convention), and that in the case of low individual value artifacts such as ancient coins, is very rarely preserved.

Second, their constantly repeated demands for export certificates do not take into account the very salient fact that with the exception of Italy, "source states" bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and Middle Eastern nations such as Iran and Iraq, never (or almost never) issue export certificates for antiquities (other than for those loaned to museums).

The claque advocating "responsible collecting" is also hiding the very salient fact that collecting of low individual value artifacts such as ancient coins under the conditions they demand (provenance and export certificates) is at best very difficult, and that forming a comprehensive typological collection in any significant area of ancient coinage would be impractical under such conditions.

Dr. Elkins, I believe, is hiding the fact that all or nearly all important collections, including I believe the one he curates, were not formed according to the guidelines for "responsible collecting." I believe that Dr. Elkins once stated that he was personally pursuing a collection of ancient coins according to these guidelines. He has not, to my knowledge, publicly disclosed the results of his collecting efforts.

Among the things that The claque advocating "responsible collecting" is concealing is that enforcing "responsible collecting" (according to the guidelines being advocated) would almost certainly mean the end of ancient coin collecting as a scientific pursuit. It would be virtually impossible to form a comprehensive thematic collection that would be important as a reference and study resource.

Dave Welsh

Cultural Property Observer said...

Reading Elkins' latest blog, I now see that my efforts to get Elkins to man up and disclose his claims about the ACCG, the trade and coin circulation made to CPAC and in a difficult to find academic work are now being spun as a personal attack. The funny thing is all the things Elkins sees wrong with my blogging (again on my own behalf, not as he suggests on behalf of clients) can be easily be attributed to him and his fellow archaebloggers as well. I could spend hours documenting it all, but one need only read Barford blog and to a lesser extent Elkins' own blog as well those of Gill and St. Hilaire to get the picture.

Meanwhile, Elkins should reflect on the fact that the trade and collectors who he so happily bashes now, helped him with his reserach in the past, and certainly helped fund his schooling at the ANS all of which contributed to him achieving a PhD.

Dave Welsh said...

Barford's reaction to my comment above was almost hysterical and in my opinion, made even less sense than most of his meanderings.

I wonder why he and other archaeology-centric bloggers, including Gill and Elkins, have such a mania regarding attacking anything said in an effort to present the other side of the controversy they began regarding collecting ancient coins.

They seem to have lost sight of the fact that collectors of ancient coins, and the professional numismatists who supply them, are simply continuing the normal and traditional practices that have defined this avocation for centuries, and are still legally accepted, with the addition of being on the lookout (as far as is practically possible) to avoid anything that seems to be in any way suspicious.