Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Digging up the Past for Cash in the Middle East, 11th April 2018

 I will be in England this spring talking at a University of Suffolk Heritage Futures Seminar and have chosen as a topic:
Collection-driven exploitation of the Middle Eastern archaeological record: Conflict antiquities, myth, realities and evidence
I've been blogging about it for years, now to put it all together in a short talk and then see what emerges from the discussion. Regular readers will know that I started off as a supporter of the 'antiquities finance terrorism, so we need to regulate the trade' model. Then I began to have questions, and then doubts (and not just about what we mean by that word 'terrorism')... I should acknowledge that Donna Yates (as I understand what she was writing) held all along that the evidence was not really there, and Sam Hardy has been assiduous in busting the myths and deconstructing glib narratives. Other colleagues have been just as staunch upholding them. Antiquities dealers and collectors are in total denial. The issue emerges as one of considerable complexity, and the debate about 'what it all means' will no doubt go on for years. Butas the terrible war in Syria and that in Iraq seem, sadly, to be entering another phase, perhaps it is time to take stock of what we know, what we think we know (but maybe don't), what we do not know but wish we did, and what we will probably never know (and yes, I do plan to cite Donald Rumsfeld). I use the term Middle East in the title, but cannot fail to mention both Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen, all outside the area as usually defined, but the way it is shaping up at the moment, the focus will be on what is happening right now in Syria and Iraq and how we should be reacting to it. And yes, I still believe that the antiquities trade needs regulating, no retractions there.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.