• Regulating sales of artefacts in Britain soon?

    The advocates of a free and unregulated market in portable antiquities frequently point to as the pattern they wish would be emulated globally. There seems to be a perception in the collecting community – especially in the USA – that in the United Kingdom there is some artefactual free for all and the heritage is up for grabs. The liberal laws of Britain are held up as a model which, portable antiquity dealers and their supporters say, other nations should be encouraged to adopt, thus freeing more antiquities for sale to an expanding market. According to one collecting advocate who is also a dealer in portable antiquities: “The UK has the most enlightened antiquities laws in the world and that if other nations were even half as civilized and as wise, there would be no significant looting problems [...] ...

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  • Iraqi archaeologists voice concern about cultural heritage

    A curator checks artifacts at the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad on March 17, 2008 in a National Geographic article “Iraq Museum Still Too Damaged to Reopen”. Photograph by Thaier al-Sudnai/Reuters.

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    The following open letter was posted on the Iraqcrisis List.

    Mr. Nouri al Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq Mr. Mufeed al Jazairi, Head of Cultural Committee, Iraqi Parliament Mr. Qahtan al Juburi, Minister of Tourism Mr. Qais Husain Rashid, Acting Chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage

    February 11th, 2009 Dear Sirs,

    We write to you with serious concern about the preservation of the cultural heritage of our country. As you know, the 2003 war resulted in extensive damage to the museums and historical sites of Iraq. We are now facing another type of destruction, the destruction that can ...

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  • When will US eBay follow suit?

    According to the Museum Security Network posting “eBay Cancels Auctions of Ancient Coins” German eBay has put into practice the policies it announced this past July.

    A translation of the German policies in the above posting indicates “It is forbidden to offer archeological findings whose lawful acquisition and possession the supplier cannot prove on eBAY.” While SAFECORNER joins all those who applaud German eBay’s contribution to the effort to safeguard cultural heritage, a question lingers: What about US eBay?

    A search on US eBay today 11.26 AM (EST) under “ancient coins” yielded more than 7,300 results.

    SAFECORNER asks:

    1) How many of these coins would be deleted if the German eBay policies were applied in the US?

    2) If eBay in other countries will take the steps to help regulate the trade in antiquities, why not the US?

    The US government continues to contribute to the international effort to stem looting with import restrictions, isn’t it time for the private sector to also step up its efforts? Let’s hope that US eBay will take the lead.

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