Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Archeological Infighting over Artifact Sales

The  politburo of the Archeological Institute of America has gone crazy, spewing venom at one of its own affiliates, the St. Louis Society. The details are neatly summarised by Wayne Sayles ('Missing the Point', 1/13/2015). The whole fuss is about the sale of some artifacts from a store that had been brought from Egypt a hundred years ago but never been on public display to raise revenue to fund educational programs. This bizarre event has been criticized by even some of the most radical archeologists in the anti-collecting crusade.
The AIA is calling for repression of a long cherished right in America, the right to own and trade property [...] If perfectly legal artifacts are barred from sale today, simply because of a philosophical point of view, what will be barred tomorrow? We are a nation governed by law, not by the whims of some special interest. [...] From time to time the world becomes witness to fanatical movements that are anathema to the mainstream of society. [...] As the leadership of Archaeology becomes ever more self-serving and dictatorial, in many ways like National Socialist regimes of the past century, that former sparkle has become a scourge and the light of archaeology may be in real danger of becoming a faint flicker. [...] sooner or later the weight of unfettered oppression will spread and become unbearable.

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