Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2-21-2014

Embargo Date

2-21-2015

DOI

10.1007/s10677-014-9497-9

Abstract

In the 19th century, ‘scientific archaeologists’ split from their antiquarian colleagues over the role that provenience (context) plays in the value of an artifact. These archaeologists focus on documenting an artifact’s context when they remove it from its original location. Archaeologists then use this contextual information to place these artifacts within a particular larger assemblage, in a particular time and space. Once analyzed, the artifacts found in a site or region can be used to document, to understand, and explain the past. Given the central place of context for archaeological excavation, archaeologists have done everything in their power to combat the black market. Hoping to stem the tide, archaeologists have leveled attacks on those who excavate these materials, those who traffic in them, and those who purchase them. Unfortunately, despite decades of argument and legal wrangling, archaeologists have been unable to stop the black market. The purpose of this paper is to analyze this failure from the supply side (what archaeologists call looting) and to suggest better ways to engage other stakeholders to the benefit of most, if not all.

Share

COinS