Friday, November 28, 2014

Antiquity Collecting Needs to be Saved

HR 5703, a bill that purports to protect and preserve international cultural property at risk of destruction due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural and other disasters, is really a sneaky attempt to give the archaeology lobby more power. The cultural property zealots' crusade and attempts to circumvent the Law must be stopped in their tracks. Contact your representatives and remind them of this simple fact:
The United States was a participant in the 1970 UNESCO convention dealing with ownership of cultural property.  The implementing law in this country was carefully considered, debated and adjusted prior to its eventual enactment in 1983.  Consequently, CCPIA provides very clear and precise rules for government intervention in the trade of cultural property.  It is, in my opinion, a very well thought out and fair piece of legislation and remains in force today.  Because of CCPIA, unnecessary widespread restrictions on the antiquities trade have been made more difficult.  For that reason, opponents of private collecting have sought by various means to circumvent the letter and intent of the legislation.  It is worth noting that the current calls for trade restrictions or embargos seek action in the form of Executive Order rather than consideration under the prevailing law—where the public has a voice.

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