Friday, November 28, 2014

$36 Million Figure-- Archaeo-blogger was against it before he was for it

It's getting harder to take Dr. Sam Hardy, an archaeo-blogger with a book in the works about "conflict antiquities" seriously.   He started off with some healthy skepticism of the claim ISIS made $36 million from the sale of illicit antiquities in one province alone.  There was no change in the underlying evidence, but Dr. Hardy then went onto hype that figure when "fame" came calling in the form of a Reuters blog.   As CPO explained at the time, major problems remained with the $36 million figure despite Hardy's effort to latch onto it.   And now he's at it again, claiming that German media has verified the figure in response to a critical report in a German numismatic publication.  But is that true?  It would seem not based on the information he provides.  Rather, the most that can be said is that ISIS probably derives some income from looting-- which is what Hardy originally concluded before he jumped on the $36 million bandwagon.

Addendum (12/14/14):  This $36 million looting claim has been further debunked in a report in Artnet.  Further addendum (12/18/14):  In response to this news, Hyperallergic's only accommodation  to the truth was to change the title of the article from "German Media Corroborate $36M Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking" to "German Media May Corroborate $36M Islamic State Antiquities Trafficking" without acknowledging the change.   Of course, as set forth above, Arnet reported German Media in the end did no such thing.

1 comment:

John H said...

From the 'Black-Market Battleground' piece by Justine Drennan:-

"While verification specifically of the antiquities trafficking data is still absolutely necessary, the verification of these other data, from the same set, lends credibility to the claim that the Islamic State has made thirty six million dollars from antiquities trafficking."

The salient words here are 'lends credibility', which is not the same as 'proves.'

It seems to me that some in the archaeo-blogosphere are still trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

Best wishes

John Howland