ethnic jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

Protecting Our Global Heritage: Don't Buy Antiquities

When I was in Tunis, I was offered antiquities for sale on a number of occasions.  As a heritage specialist, I know what treasure hunters do to graves and archaeological sites.  So I always refuse to buy anything older than a couple of centuries.  The destruction of a heritage site is permanent.  Even if the objects are recovered, the information associated with that object is lost because its context has been destroyed.  The value of an artifact is often more than its metal weight, age, or aesthetic beauty...its value is in the window the object gives us into the distant past, and what it tells us all about our heritage.

In light of the problems right now in Syria and other parts of the world, I would like to remind everyone about the vulnerability of our cultural heritage.  Archaeological sites become easy pickings in the absence of law and order.  Sometimes the proceeds from the sale of artifacts from these sites are even used to fuel conflict.  Those who purchase antiquities are encouraging the destruction of more archaeological sites, and may also be contributing to war.

So please, if someone offers you a piece of ancient Roman jewelry, think about where it came from, how the seller got it, and what you are supporting!

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I second Edith on that front.  I got my BA in Archaeology/ Anthropology and know well the importance of pieces being found intact in their settings.  Removal of any archaeological remains and artifacts should be left to professionals who carefully record every detail about items that are found at a site.  I had the privilege to work with archaeologist Dr. David Soren (also a Tunisian archaeology expert) at an excavation in Chianciano Terme, Italy many years ago.  Archaeology is painstaking and requires much patience, but the rewards are generations of knowledge that would otherwise have been lost or misinterpreted.  

Even picking up arrowheads, pottery shards, or other ancient artifacts found in one's backyard will misplace these items in history....

Hey ladies, this would be a wonderful topic for an article in EJ mag. Would you care to put something together? S x

Here is an example of what I am talking about. Check this out...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/is-looted-syrian-art-showing-up...

And here is another to give one pause...

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31605284

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