15 July 2008

One Man's Looter Is Another Man's Oriental Institute

Synchronicity strikes as OJ points us to this WSJ article on Iraq's non-looted archeological sites the same day as we saw this exhibit at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute bemoaning the catastrophic looting of "Mesopotamian Archaeological Sites." The exhibit is tied to a book on the catastrophe that, perfectly, includes a forward by Robert Fisk.

The Oriental Institute, which boasts of its "major collection of antiquities from ancient Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey" wants to be sure we know that looting is awful because, um, because ... when archeologists dig up rare antiquities and cart them off to Chicago, they take careful notes about where they found them.

1 comment:

Harry Eagar said...

An always interesting point. Who 'owns' the Behistun inscription? The locals who ignored it for 2500 years or the outsiders who recovered its message?

That one was not portable but the fundamental issue remains.

And what do we think about Christian missionaries who are, as we speak, flimflaming natives in the South Pacific into burning their artworks?