Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership: The Ethical Crisis in Archaeology

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Bloomsbury Academic, Oct 20, 2000 - History - 160 pages

Colin Renfrew argues that what is most precious in archaeology is the information that excavations can shed on our human past. Yet the clandestine and unpublished digging of archaeological sites for gain - looting - is destroying the context in which archaeological findings can be understood, as well as sabotaging the most valuable information. It is the source of most of the antiquities that appear on the art market today - unprovenanced antiquities, the product of illicit traffic financed, knowingly or not by the collectors and museums that buy them on a no-questions-asked basis. This trade has turned London as well as other international centres into a 'thieves kitchen' where greed triumphs over serious appreciation of the past. Unless a solution is found to this ethical crisis in archaeology, Renfrew argues that our record of the past will be vastly diminished, and his book lays bare the misunderstanding and hypocrisy that underlies that crisis.

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collector and the dealer
illegitimate acquisition

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About the author (2000)

Colin Renfrew is Pro Vice Chancellor Dean at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He graduated in Printed Textiles from Glasgow School of Art and went on to complete an MA from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Colin has over 30 years' experience in fashion education in the UK, Australia, Sri Lanka and Russia. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and the China Academy of Art.

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