Posted by: frank Post Reply
I have a personal perspective on looting . I lived on a small island in a huge marsh in southern New Jersey a spot that is below the Mason Dixon line and a spot that retained slaves after the rest of New Jersey stopped that horror. We had a slave cemetery on the island because the land was not considered arable.One morning we saw remains of caskets standing in holes dug the night before. Slaves were often buried with a bead or a very small collection of them but it turned out that looting was a rationalization for continuing the cultural terror. I am happy to say the desecration stopped after a group of us caught the perpetrators a week later in the act.Looting may be based in avarice but I believe it may be justified by complex social motivations in the group mind of the perpetrators culture.I no longer trust museums not to deaccession the most precious or mundane objects as this trend has escalated in the last years.Beads in personal collections that have been looted have lost their archeological value but as the spate of fabulous books on beads of late has shown their aesthetic value may not be diminished. I have a perspective of sorts but no answers to an often tragic and always thorny problem.
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