Friday, January 29, 2010

Common Sense from India

An Indian publication, the Hindu, has posted an intersting editorial calling for India's laws to be updated to provide for both enhanced enforcement and the institution of a system akin to the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme. See

As the editorial states,

Best practices in England and Wales show that it helps to have an amended legal framework that is accommodative and forward-looking. They also demonstrate that the practical way to enhance protection is to involve communities in reporting and protecting artefacts. The Portable Antiquities Scheme, implemented in England and Wales, is one of the biggest success stories of recent times. The scheme encourages local communities to voluntarily report and register the discovery of artefacts with the help of experts. The resulting data base is placed in the public domain. So far it has documented 400,000 archaeological finds, including the remarkable eighth-century Staffordshire Hoard. The functional features of such schemes can be modified to suit Indian conditions but there must be sincere and diligent implementation. Efforts in Italy demonstrate that enhanced and dedicated policing and the aggressive pursuit of stolen antiquities abroad is equally necessary. In 2009, Italian art police recovered about 60,000 pieces of looted antiquities and helped reduce art theft by 14.5 per cent from the previous year. Comparable results can be achieved in India if protective measures are professionalised and creative partnerships developed with local communities.

I'm pleased to see this Indian publication is advocating use of the "carrot" as well as the usual "stick."

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