Discussion of the archaeological ethics surrounding the collecting of antiquities and archaeological material.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
SLAM and Collecting Histories
The time has come for the curatorial staff of the St Louis Art Museum to demonstrate that they have authenticated the documentation relating to the acquisition of the Egyptian mummy mask. The museum authorities need to explain how the Egyptian object formed part of the Kaloterna collection at exactly the same time that it was also in Egypt.
One of the lawyers acting for SLAM indicated that the museum did not wish to own a "stolen" object. So, putting aside the legal decision, how confident is the curatorial team that the mask was not stolen? And if, on balance, they decided that it was "stolen" from an archaeological store in Egypt, then there is an ethical obligation on the museum to return it.
Is it time for the Director and Trustees of SLAM to make a public statement?