Monday, June 30, 2014

Another Lost Opportunity

Archaeo-blogger Nathan Elkins has missed another opportunity to engage in real dialogue. In his latest article on the subject, he again lectures others about his views about the "morality" of collecting unprovenanced coins.  As a staunch supporter of the AIA campaign in favor of import restrictions, this should not be surprising.  As far as the AIA is concerned, ethics appears to be largely for the other guy.  But the AIA needs to rethink its own views in order to find a way forward.  And Elkins should also consider what archaeologists can themselves do to protect context.  At a minimum, why not hire site guards or at least monitor sites remotely during the long periods they are not being worked?  Or more importantly, why not promote programs akin to the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme?  This program-- which Elkins has in the past seemed to support-- encourages the public to report what they find.  It also gives state museums a right of first refusal as long as the finder receives fair market value for their coins.  As CPO has said before, it should be about conservation not control.

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