One of the issues that needs to be addressed is the demand for archaeological material. Which groups are acquiring or handling such material?
- Museums. Yet it is clear that since the Medici Conspiracy that most museums are cautious about acquiring freshly surfaced material. There is still some work to do on long-term loans.
- Private collectors. The Medici Conspiracy has highlighted a number of 'high profile' collectors, and some of them continue to hold material that needs to be returned. (I have not forgotten about the Icklingham bronzes.)
- Investors. There are some who still see archaeological material as a way as investing in 'ancient art'.
- Auction houses. 'Toxic' antiquities continued to surface on the market during 2014 and it is clear that the present due diligence process needs to be made more rigorous.
- Galleries and dealers. Some dealers are raising their standards but not all. Can we expect to see improved documentation for archaeological material passing through the market?
- Online vendors. Does the online market place need to be monitored more rigorously? I was exploring this with students just before Christmas.
While there is a perceived demand for archaeological material, and especially high value material, the unscientific destruction of archaeological sites will continue.