Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Report on CPAC Hearing on Italian MOU- Part V

Here is a continuation of my report about the May 6, 2010 CPAC hearing.

Elise Freedman is a classics professor at George Washington University. Students should understand the context of ancient art. This needs to be documented. The MOU seeks to encourage context to be documented. It also includes provisions for loans like the Rome and America exhibit.

Sebastian Heath is an AIA VP and is also associated with the American Numismatic Society, but he spoke on his own behalf. Coins are important to the cultural history of Italy and should be included in the MOU. We know Emperor Augustus gave out coins as New Year's Day gifts. We also know that a Roman knight was put to death for defacing the images on the coins. This shows they were considered bearers of meaning outside of their importance to archaeology. Fourth Century burials with coins depicting Christian symbolism tell us something about who was buried. If the coins had been looted, this information would have been lost. Coins are under threat. EBay sells coins still covered in dirt. The MOU needs to be amended to include coins to protect them from looting.

Laetitia La Folette is a classics professor at the University of Massachusetts. The Italian government has been cooperative in helping to set up exhibits. These exhibits give Americans contact with Italian culture.

Richard Leventhal is a professor with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center. Context must be preserved. There are top down and bottom up methods to do so. There needs to be community outreach to help. According to Leventhal, there is no such thing as a duplicate. The context in which every artifact is found makes each artifact important individually. The licit trade does not make sense. Loans do.

To be continued.

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