Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones Nonsense Overwhelms Newsfeeds

Editor's note: No Southwestern Archaeology News today, as the news feeds are carrying nothing but Indiana Jones drivel.

Two related stories did pop up that are worth sharing as they reflect the ethics embodied in the Hollywood portrays archaeology:

- Priceless Artifacts Stolen from University of British Columbia Museum: Mystery surrounds the details of a brazen weekend heist at UBC's Museum of Anthropology. And so far it's got all the makings of a lively tale of crime, intrigue and stolen cultural treasure. It began overnight Friday when high-end gold artifacts created by famed Haida artist Bill Reid were spirited away from the University of B.C. museum, long believed to be impenetrable to thieves.
http://www.cdarc.org/page/8aaj - Vancouver Province

- Director of Art Institute of Chicago Argues for "Partage" over Repatriation: In an already controversial new book out later this month, "Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle for Our Ancient Heritage," author James Cuno argues for a return to the idea of "partage." The term refers to the system that persisted for many years in which foreign-led experts -- typically Europeans and Americans -- worked with locals to excavate antiquities in countries like Iraq and Egypt. Some of the material went to local museums, but much of the rest ended up in the museums in the experts' home countries. But the system has been supplanted by conventions and national laws designed to keep antiquities in their home countries. Cuno, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, argues the changes have been harmful.