Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Perils of Limited Sourcing

CBS News' "investigative report" on looting by ISIS -- like others on the topic-- also suffers from over-reliance upon State Department funded archaeologists and lawmen with their own agendas.

How so?  Once again, there is the misleading suggestion that any artifacts looted from Apamea-- here a valuable mosaic-- benefit ISIS when the site is 35 KM North West of the Regime controlled Muharadah and nearby territory appears to be in the hands of other (non ISIS) rebel groups.

There is also the question of the value of the antiquities that have been looted-- if anything, the steep drop in the asking price for the mosaic from $200,000 to $60,000 suggests that looted material may be more difficult to sell than is suggested.  In any case, it would be interesting to learn whether the mosaics have been published anywhere previously.  Do they come from a known location or were they previously unknown?

And despite dark claims by New York Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos that "artifacts from countries under ISIS control" are available in the US, it's unclear whether he's referring to artifacts that are the product of recent looting or the exact same sort of "Middle Eastern material" that has been on the market for decades.

In any event, CBS News "has also learned" that there are multiple criminal investigations underway, so presumably we may know more soon.

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