Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Defining Cultural Property: "the significance of the past for the present"

I see from archaeologist Paul Barford's postings that there is some discussion about the definition of 'cultural property'. I thought it would be interesting to turn to The New Oxford Companion to Law (Oxford University Press, 2008) that is sitting at my side. (This is a standard desk companion along with OED and the New Hart's Rules.)

Michael Shanks has written the entry for 'cultural property'. He includes a set of 'disagreements' over key questions, pressing issues ("the looting of ancient sites and the associated illicit trade in antiquities"), as well as some of the arguments used (e.g. "that collectors have a right to own pieces of the past").

Other entries of interest include: antiquities and looting; archaeological heritage; cultural heritage; heritage legislation; heritage markets; heritage, international dimensions; heritage, protection during war; UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

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