Monday, 4 November 2013

Cornell and so-called unprovenanced tablets

In 2009 I reviewed James Cuno's edited volume Whose culture? for the Journal of Art Crime (pp. 99-100). This 'partial and partisan' book (as I described the book) contained an essay, "Censoring knowledge: the case for the publication of unprovenanced cuneiform tablets", by David I. Owen, the Bernard and Jane Schapiro Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University (pp. 125-42, [pp. 130-42 = endnotes]). Readers of LM will know that I dislike the terms "provenanced" and "unprovenanced": I prefer to use the phrase "collecting histories" (or lack!).

Perhaps David I. Owen can tell the full story of how Cornell acquired all these tablets.

In the meantime we look forward to reading the press release that Cornell has yet to issue.

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