Re: [Ancientartifacts] Re: Making a contribution

---- letitflyantiques1 <> wrote:

Hello Steve,

> I may have missed your solution suggestion. What was the post?

Christ knows. It's back there somewhere. Someone's gonna have my head if they read this though....

I suggested the artefacts/artifacts surplus to Museum requirements, especially in the source country, could be sold off to interested collectors. The funds generated could be used for archaeological research and museum infrastructure. The items sold would have provenance paperwork attached and any subsequent seller/buyer would be required (by law) to provide the source country with transfer of ownership documentation.

Thus, if the item was required in the future for analysis, it could be traced to it's present owner. I've thought about some of the ramifications of such a proposal but I'll wait and see what you think.

> I would love to deal in only items from sites that were looted long
> ago or from old licensed digs but I don't think there is enough on
> the market to satisfy demand.

There's the rub, as they say.

> I think every dealer and collector
> would prefer that but where will the inventory come from? I don't see
> demand decreasing so all parties will benefit if reasonable and
> flexible solutions can be found. Draconian strictures on antiquity
> collecting or even a total ban will never stop the trade. The
> underground market would grow and become more ruthless and the
> material would just disappear into secret collections.

I thought the latter was the way it worked prior to the Internet?

> (I get some items from old collections occasionally. A few years ago
> I was able to liquidate the remains of an ancient coin and artifact
> collection that was put together in the 1930- 1960 era and by the
> gentleman and his father and grandfather. It was much more
> interesting than the pieces I generally see. Still, though
> everything was strictly legal, I am sure sites were still destroyed
> to get it, just long ago.)

Maybe no-one's described the problem of small finds "acquisition" for you, Steve? When they are taken from the soil there is the possibility that this will disturb a body of other interesting material in the vicinity. Coins can be used, in undisturbed sites, to date other parts of the assemblage.

We don't have that long a history here in Australia since colonisation. There are laws regarding the taking of colonial and historical artefacts yet most don't abide by them, myself included (at times). On one side, I come from a farming family and that wheat and sheep property is now owned by one of my cousins. They didn't take stuff to a local rubbish tip, they had their own. The oldest stuff on that property would be approaching 100 years in age. If I see something interesting, and my cousin doesn't mind, I may take it home. Not much difference, is there?

But what happens? I put it in a drawer or a box and that's where it stays. I realised a while back that unless what I found was significant, I'd simply leave it where it was. I helped a friend with a Clearing Sale on a rural property a few months back. She took me to this spot where there had been an old homestead. She was picking up stuff left, right and centre. I couldn't be bothered till I saw an example of "Making Do" - social history jargon for making a useful item rather than buying one. It was a large glass jar that had acquired a crude wire handle, intact. I took it and it sits on my bookshelf.

If I was on a dig in the Middle East, I would not entertain doing the same thing for a nanosecond.

> As for my own collecting and my major business inventory, I stick
> with antiques but even there I can't pretend I can state where a
> piece came from or how it was acquired. When dealing with 18th
> century furniture and smalls, there is always a pretty good chance
> that at least some items I handle were stolen at some point or
> obtained by ruthless and deceitful tactics. I can attest to recent
> ownership but I usually can't say where an item was 25 years ago with
> any certainty.

Yes,...but you agree that it's a different ballgame? Auctioneers aren't always that truthful either....and they're just managing the sale.

> As a totally off topic aside, is anyone concerned about the digging
> of World War 1 and 2 sites?

I see someone's picked up on that......digging up war graves is going a bit far.



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