Monday, 19 November 2007

Coins and Cyprus: the destruction of archaeological heritage

The legal action against the US state department has failed to acknowledge the central issue: the protection of the finite archaeological resource on the island of Cyprus. This has been the reason why individuals, including myself, have expressed an opinion on the restriction of imports of archaeological material from Cyprus.

Some are presenting archaeological concerns as "unprecedented threats to ancient coin collecting" (Wayne Sayles).

Others present the restrictions as the result of "the conservation lobby" (David Welsh). It is perhaps telling that the opposite of "conservation" is "destruction". Is that what the three groups of coin collecting bodies wish to endorse?

Coins lying in a stratified archaeological context are part of the heritage of that island. Is that what the "destructionist lobby" is wanting to annihilate?

Hadjisavvas, S. 2001. "The destruction of the archaeological heritage of Cyprus." In Trade in illicit antiquities: the destruction of the world's archaeological heritage, edited by N. Brodie, J. Doole, and C. Renfrew, pp. 133-39. Cambridge: McDonald Institute.


Unknown said...

I think you're right the action to restrict coin imports was the right thing to do, however I see no reason why the actions of the CPAC should not be made public.

When you say the legal action doesn't acknowledge the protection of the archaeological resource, you're right, but that's how a legal claim works. The plaintiffs have submitted their complaint, and they are giving their view of the facts and of the issues. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, every complaint does this. They can not and should not bring the substantive issues up in the complaint. This is only an action to disclose information; the substantive decision will not be overturned.

Wayne G. Sayles said...

Thank you Derek for a ray of light. The motto of the ACCG is Per Lucem ad Veritatem. You seem to understand that concept better than some.



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