Loot, legitimacy and ownership: the ethical crisis in archaeology

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Duckworth, 2000 - Law - 160 pages
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Colin Renfrew illustrates how the most precious product of archaeology is the information that excavations can illuminate about out shared human past. Yet the illicit digging of archaeological sites for gain - i.e. looting - is destroying the context in which archaeological findings can be understood, as well as sabotaging the most valued information. Today's art market is rife with the antiquities pilfered by these archaeological looters.

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Review: Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership: The Ethical Crisis in Archaeology (Duckworth Debates in Archaeology)

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

Fast read, interesting case studies, consistent moral ground. This old hand values archaeological "context" over loot: it doesn't seem like he cares about "ownership" so much as the "damage" looting does to the archaeologist's ability to uncover the past. Read full review


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collector and the dealer
illegitimate acquisition

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About the author (2000)

Colin Renfrew (Professor Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn) is Emeritus Disney Professor and Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University. He is the author and editor of a large number of publications, including Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, with Paul Bahn, which is one of the standard textbooks on the subject.