Archaeology's forgotten debt
Re: Beads and Archaeology -- Karlis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: CoinCoin Post Reply
08/08/2017, 11:37:38

Collectors are indeed indebted to archaeology, but we must not forget the original transaction that created the science. It was founded by inquisitive collectors, but today the discipline has become radicalized by Retentionists: those who see the entire surface of the earth as a site, context as everything, private ownership as a curse, and the picking up of a common artifact by a newly inspired mind a tragedy. They are beholden less to inquiry than to political elites, domestic who fund them, and source-nation graspers who withhold permission to study while failing miserably to protect what is already on their soil. They are disdainful of the descendants of those cultures under research whose crops, woodlands, and minerals have been exhausted, leaving few resources but the shards of their ancestors' culture. For harvesting these they are vilified and prosecuted, along with those who deliver them to safer hands. Radical archaeologists, in forgetting the origin of their science, undermine its future. They fail to appreciate that the inspiration of an ancient object held in the hand of a child can lead to a lifetime of curiosity and contribution. As collectors we must never apologize, or limit our horizons. While cooperation with science is our duty, such duty attenuates as the threat of confiscation looms. As members of a world culture that values both science and individual ownership, it is not a crime but a privilege to give safe haven to the remains of cultures whose once vibrant lands have fallen to those who destroy them out of superstition or neglect.

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