Tuesday, July 05, 2005

ED COOK reports a recent telephone conversation with Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, about the problem of unprovenanced antiquities. Me, I still can't suggest any solution better than the one Joe Zias came up with on the ANE list in January (sorry, all the ANE links seem to have gone dead): flood the market with first-rate fakes so that no dealer or collector will trust the genuineness of any unprovenanced artifact and looters will give up and turn to more profitable lines of work. If you have a better idea, speak up!

UPDATE (6 July): No one has pointed out the main objection to Joe's proposal -- that it would be illegal. Let me clarify that I mean that if there is any campaign of forgeries to undermine the antiquities market, it should be coordinated with the authorities (IAA, police, etc.). It would, after all, save them a lot of trouble in the long run.

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