[Northkeep] Period artifacts for sale

Marc Carlson marccarlson20 at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 31 10:55:28 PDT 2003

>From: HNiewoehner at netscape.net (Hugh Niewoehner)
>There used to be a guy who would show up at Medfair to merchant papyrus 
>art, clothes, etc. from >Egypt.   He was an Army Officer who regularly went 
>there officially.  Said he'd made friends with a >bunch of bedoin who'd 
>bring him things the desert regularly turned up.  That year he had a small 
> >selection of spear points and a few small coins.  Authentic?  Probably.  
>Legal exports?  Could be argued >by lawyers for years.

Or not.  I know there are some exaples of people who have been more than 
happy to flaunt the fact that they've bypassed the normal authorities.

The real problem is that on one hand, most of the people who are getting 
involved are mostly good people who are innocently assuming that "well they 
got it out of the country, it -must- be ok" (and understandaibly getting 
REALLY defensive when it's brought up, which is why I wanted to malke sure 
it was clear that I wasn't making any accusations in this.

On the other hand, once the material's been dug up, it's lost it's context 
and too often is just written off by the archeological purists as being 
useless.  They would rather see it just trashed than sold, since selling 
just encourages the looters.  And of course there is the aligned arguement 
that "well, what if it's just picked up from the ground (as in the old kid's 
practice of collecting arrowheads), are they doing something WRONG (and who 
says?)."   There are no good answers here.

Ultimately, it's like buying ivory.  Killing elephants for Ivory is just 
wrong, and it's illegal.  There is a limited amount of it out there and when 
that's gone, there will be no more.  When you go to the Gun shows, there is 
often some there in pieces that is said to be either preban, or was sold 
during a window when they were clearing out old stocks, or some such.  Is it 
really, though?  Is the provenance clear?  Or is it off an animal that only 
died recently?

We just need to be more careful, not only with who we deal with, but know 
who they were dealing with.


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