ASOR wants to know:
What innovative strategies can you think of that would eliminate or reduce the illicit trade of antiquities and enhance the protection of the world’s archaeological and cultural heritage?
Changing attitudes to looting. What are your ideas?
A growing body of literature documents the reality that the ancient, buried landscape of Israel, including the areas known as the West Bank and Gaza, are being inexorably and irretrievably looted. Looting refers to a process by which objects are removed without official permission or archaeological oversight and documentation.  Some positive outcomes may devolve to those who participate in such activities (money from selling artifacts, cultivation of buyer/dealer networks, prestige from owning objects that are old and in increasingly short supply). In every single case, there is a parallel negative result that occurs, which is the loss of context for an ancient object and the loss of association between those certain artifacts and the place they last were laid by an ancient actor. Anyone who denies that this outcome is the reality is, in this author’s mind, uninformed about the consequences of looting... Read the rest of this entry and respond in the comments there.