Friday, December 19, 2014

Numismatic and Archeological Ethics

English heritage writer and publisher John H. Howland reports on the Cultural Property Observer blog a case of academic malpractice which deserves to be wider known
John H said... In 1982, archaeologist Ralph Pinder-Wilson, who was at that time Director of the British Institute of Afghan Studies in Kabul, was sentenced to death in Afghanistan for stealing gold coins from an excavation near Kabul. He was later reprieved and repatriated to England, where he continued to work as an archaeologist until his death in 2008. Significantly, not a single archaeologist anywhere condemned Pinder-Wilson's thieving activities. Yet, this same silent majority crawls out of the woodwork to condemn non-academic antiquity thieves, and legal collectors with monotonous regularity. Best wishes John Howland England
As that great authority and mentor on ancient coins dealer Dave Welsh said...
"When has any archaeologist publicly condemned another archaeologist for any illicit, unprofessional or immoral act? [...] the difference in how misconduct is regarded within the numismatic and archaeological disciplines certainly does not suggest that numismatists are less responsible or less ethical than archaeologists -- who notoriously remain silent whenever other archaeologists are exposed for sins against accepted standards of professional and/or social conduct". 
Yet these are the people who cast accusations at collectors and expect them to carry the can for poor stewardship of the cultural heritage by the failed raghead nations of the Middle East and beyond. Let them first get their own house in order.

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