Thursday, 15 October 2020
Monday, 12 October 2020
|EPC Kotyle from the Medici Dossier.|
Courtesy of Christos Tsirogiannis.
- Private Collection, U.K.
- Art Market, U.K.
- with Peter Sharrer Ancient Art, New York.
- Acquired by the current owner from the above, 1997.
Monday, 28 September 2020
A Roman period stele from the sanctuary of Apollo at Saittai in Lydia, modern Turkey, has been recovered in Italy ("1,800-year-old artifact delivered to Turkey from Italy", Anadolu Agency 23 September 2020). It was seized in 1997 from an undisclosed antiquities dealer. The stela, inscribed in Greek, has now been returned to Turkey for display in Anakara.
Monday, 24 August 2020
|Silbury Hill © David Gill|
There are reports from the Wiltshire Constabulary of "illegal metal detecting" at Silbury Hill, part of the Avebury prehistoric landscape. How can such activity be considered to be acceptable?
Thursday, 13 August 2020
|Hadrian's Wall at Welton (MC17) © David Gill|
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what requirements are placed on organisers of commercial rallies to (a) report Treasure, (b) follow best practice, (c) ensure that in-situ archaeology is protected and (d) ensure that archaeological finds made on their events are lawfully exported.
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what in-situ (a) hoards and (b) other archaeological finds found on metal-detecting rallies and club events have been excavated without archaeological support in 2020; what assessment his Department has made of the level of loss to knowledge of those excavations.
Guidance for both individual metal detectorists and organisers of events operating during the covid-19 lockdown was published on the gov.uk page Guidance on searching for archaeological finds in England during COVID-19 on 9 July 2020. The guidance points organisers to directions on operating inside and outside events and also advises organisers and finders what to do if they discover a new archaeological site. The page also directs finders and organisers to the National Council for Metal Detecting guidance on best practice when detecting.
Rallies and club events are legally permitted and take place on private property with the landowner’s consent, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does not currently monitor or record activities at these events.
Responsibility for reporting possible treasure finds and arranging for an export licence lies with the finder and owner of the cultural object. Guidance on reporting treasure and applying for an export licence during the present situation is included on the gov.uk pages Guidance on searching for archaeological finds in England during COVID-19 and Export art, antiques and cultural goods: special rules. Anyone not reporting a potential treasure find or not obtaining an export licence where necessary can be subject to legal sanctions.
Monday, 27 July 2020
Their opening paragraph suggests that 'early archaeological expeditions purchased artefacts for museum collection to complement material from their excavations'. Their citation points to excavations in Egypt but does not specify a time period. If we look to Greece, the early excavations of the British School at Athens (from its opening in 1886) would not support this claim. There is somehow a lack of clarity in what Thomas and Pitblado are trying to assert.
The focus of the paper is about the relationship between 'private artefact' collectors and archaeologists, and specifically 'to counteract the damage done by stereotyping all members of the collecting public and the archaeologists who work with them'.
Let us imagine a largely unexcavated archaeological site with a Roman component in a rural part of England, say East Anglia. For the sake of argument let us say that the site was 'investigated' by metal-detectorists. Did they have permission from the local landowner? Was any damage sustained to the archaeological record? Was any contextual information lost?
But let us take this a step further, imagine that a set of impressive Roman bronzes was found and then removed from the UK. These bronzes were then sold by, say, a Manhattan gallery to a private artefact collector who keeps the figures in their apartment and occasionally loans the objects for an exhibition in, say, a university museum. Would Thomas and Pitblado commend the private collector for 'saving' and 'sharing' the bronzes? What if the collector claimed to have purchased the bronzes 'in good faith' through the 'licit market'? Would Thomas and Pitblado find such an explanation acceptable? Would they feel able to include the bronzes in an account of Roman East Anglia? How would such a scenario relate to their claim, 'we do not condone either the illicit trade in antiquities or the collection of artefacts in violation of any law'?
Would Thomas and Pitblado suggest that this rifling of this (imaginary) Roman site was acceptable because those conducting the search were taking exercise 'outdoors', 'socialising', and taking an interest in the latest technology? (These specific examples are taken from the section, 're-nuancing motivations'.)
Who, in this fictional example drawn from eastern England, are the individuals 'contributing to archaeological knowledge'?
Thomas and Pitblado go on to cite the SAA statement encouraging the recognition of 'the importance of privately held collections as potential sources of information about sites, and the irreplaceable loss of this information when responsible and responsive stewards are ignored or treated disrespectfully'. As it so happens I am writing about a high profile private collection that contains material that I suspect comes from a specific site: but the information either has been lost or has not been disclosed. The result is that the objects are not a potential source of information about a specific site. Indeed the conclusion is that there has been an 'irreplaceable loss of ... information'. This aspect of knowledge destruction is left unaddressed by Thomas and Pitblado.
Thomas and Pitblado conclude: 'When we work with and listen to others, it is better for everyone—and it is better for archaeology'. Are they listening to those, such as Sam Hardy, who are raising genuine concerns about the destruction of the archaeological record?
This presentation will explore how the description of objects by museums and in exhibition catalogues can alert researchers to the workings ...
In the wake of the 1992 Athens conference to discuss the Getty kouros (85.AA.40) , one of the delegates, a "distinguished" America...
I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a...
i was very struck by the 2010 words of St Louis Art Museum spokeswoman Jennifer Stoffel when talking about the dispute between SLAM and E...