Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Reply To Paul

Gee, as usual Paul you said so much I hardly know where to begin but let me take a stab.

OK - for one thing, you just simply don't want a legal outlet for antiquity sales, you said,

"Furthermore, Shanks describes the editorial policies of some journals not to enhance the value of looted items in the market by allowing their publication in those journals as "even stupider" and labels it an "the avert-the-eyes strategy". He seems not to regognise that it is a policy which has its eyes firmly on the legitimising effects of scholarly interest in a looted item. So what is Shanks' idea of how to deal with the pronblem? Well, somewhat incongruously, it is not only legitimising the market, but taking part in it.

Compete with the looters. Professional archaeologists should professionally excavate areas subject to looting—and fund their excavations by selling the “loot.” "

So it is safe to say you do not want a legitimate, legal market. You want to maintain the status quo which only feeds looting. I have proposed a solution to the problem of looting and your colleague Nathan Elkins liked my idea as contained in these 2 posts:

While Shanks did not outline his position in detail, he is aiming in the same direction as I am which is to have a rational, legal & regulated antiquities market which includes professional archaeological training. I can think of numerous reasons why I'd prefer to get ancient coins from an archaeologist or a trained amateur as opposed to a mere looter:

1) Following the law - self explanatory, I already do that but not everyone does.

2) Care taken with the object[s]

I once got some copper coins from India that were cleaned in gasoline. It ruined the surfaces of many of the coins. I'd rather have a person with good conservation skills handling coins (and other objects).

3) Provenance - coins with provenance will command a better price.

I'm going to ignore all the false words you put into my mouth and all the ideas you say I subscribe to. You are talking out of your ideology as usual. I'm just not going to respond to all that claptrap.

About Shanks opinion, good opinions (articles) are worth sharing and repeating. I expanded on what Shanks said that appealed to me and left the rest to stand as is because I did not think I had to add to it. Well stated ideas stand on their own.

I think one thing you really fail to address is the status quo of existing prohibitive, statist laws and how they just don't seem to work. This is where people who hold to your point of view on this topic really have blinders on, haveyour head in the sand and remind me of the 3 monkeys see-no-evil, hear-no-evil & speak-no-evil.

Finally, when Shanks said,

"I call this the avert-the-eyes strategy. Don’t look at it. Needless to say, this strategy has had absolutely no effect on looting, although it makes a major contribution to the self-righteous feeling of those who adopt it."

I think there he hit the nail on the head. The current status quo of archaeology DOES NOTHING but give a warm, fuzzy feeling of righteousness and self-satisfaction to it's subscribers.


Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics

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