Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jack Davis: "The rising love of loot"

Jack Davis, the new Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), has given an interview on looting.

Given the recent vocal comments from the coin lobbyists, it was helpful to read the views of an experienced and distinguished field archaeology:

"Often the amount of devastation to an archaeological site is really disproportionate to the loot that's recovered. People will do huge damage to a site just to walk away with some coins, destroying sometimes the whole history of an area in an evening with a bulldozer. There's hardly a field archaeologist alive who hasn't seen that."

He also makes comments about the role of the private collector:

"I think some of the most avid collectors are paying the highest prices and are fuelling demand; they're driving the market. I don't want to see archaeological sites destroyed. I want to learn as much about the past as possible."

Davis is not afraid of the big or contemporary issues. He touches on the Byzantine silver hoard which is claimed by Bulgaria. And he poses the question about the Parthenon marbles, "Where do they derive the most meaning?"

I wish Professor Davis the best of success in his new role.

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