Archaeology = looting in the name of science
Re: To collect or not to collect? That is the question… -- Frederick II Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/01/2018, 22:09:51

Let's face facts - an enormous number of graves have been dug up by both scientists (claiming the right to do this in the name of science) and amateurs (we can call them looters if you want) - and this has been going on since ancient times when most tombs were robbed, probably before the mortar was set. In some cases the tide has turned and there are efforts to stop the desecrations and/or replace the remains back into the holy ground where our ancestors consecrated their dead. A notable example is the relatively recent return of Tutankhamun's body to a case in his original tomb.
But many pleas to stop digging up grave sites go unheeded.

Other non-burial sites are also studied / looted by professionals and amateurs. Since I don't think there will ever be enough time and money given to the professionals to examine and document every single ancient site on the planet, I vote in favor of allowing every country to figure out for themselves how to handle the amateurs. In some sense, the ancient history of a particular area belongs to all the current residents. Why not let a farmer who digs up some relics keep them or profit from them? There is a system for turning in valuable finds by amateurs in countries like England. I wonder whether it works 100% of the time. In the poorer nations, paying people to turn in relics may never happen. It's more likely that they will be confiscated by the government, and then some corrupt official will be the one to profit from a black market sale.

Beads are generally so numerous and often of little historical value when washed out of an ancient gravesite in Mali, for example, or found in a river basin in the Pacific NW. I think there are enough beads found in official archaeological digs that I don't worry about the the ones taken out by amateurs. I feel the sellers of such beads are selling a product from their country that they have worked to produce, just as if they were selling new handicrafts. The beads probably changed hands many times before the modern-day looter got hold of them and passed them along to the latest owner. It seems to be the karma of the beads, how and where they go next. I think I am even more philosophical about this now that some of my own beads have been stolen and are in the hands of new owners somewhere.

Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Mar 01, 2018, 22:13:44

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