Sunday, August 6, 2017

Draining the Stinking Anti-Collector Swamp

There is some great news coming out of Washington as the Trump administration begins to make its mark on the cultural landscape (Peter Tompa, " Congressional Appropriators Hold State Department, CPAC and Source Countries Accountable" July 31 2017).
The House of Representatives has used the appropriations process to highlight the need for the State Department and the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to hold countries with MOUs with the United States accountable for spending adequate sums to protect their own cultural patrimony as a precondition for receiving continued US assistance. For more, see here. It's long past time for such a message to be sent. If source countries are poor stewards for what they already have, why repatriate more objects under the misapprehension they will be properly studied, preserved and displayed?
As John Howland UK Collector remarks, let us all hope this is the first bore hole in the drilling into the layers of lies and deceit to expose the rampant corruption in some source countries. As he says, much of this dishonesty must surely have already been identified by some of the major players cossetted in higher echelons of archaeology. It is sure that someone, somewhere has gotten very rich thanks to unsuspecting US taxpayers. We can only hope that when they identify those individuals the State Department will name those involved and take the appropriate action.

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