Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A near total loss

When an object is stolen from a museum, at least its existence is known and its original context (where it was found and in association with what other objects, physical remains, and architectural features) recorded for future study and reconstruction. The looting of sites is far more detrimental to our ability to understand the past because neither the objects themselves nor their original contexts will ever be known. In addition, looters routinely discard those objects that are considered less saleable on the international market, such as fragments of cuneiform tablets, even though these fragments may contain significant historical and cultural information.—Archaeology, Bible, Politics, and the Media, page 18

<idle musing>
This is an important book that anyone interested in the ancient world should read. I'll be excerpting from it for the next week or two.

The saddest thing is that the locals who do the looting usually are only given a fraction of what the brokers get for the item. So the locals lose twice: once by not getting any significant cash. Second by making their history poorer. All for the sake of money...sad.
</idle musing>

No comments: