Monday 16 September 2013

Antiquities Collectors - An Endangered Species?

Dorothy King has examined an apparent dearth of antiquities collectors - or at least those who are willing to come forward - in the modern world: "In Search of the Modern Antiquities Collector".

Perhaps it is high time for a truce between those preservationists who want to protect the archaeological record and those collectors who also fully endorse that view. Not ALL collectors are thoughtless and unethical. Many of them are deeply passionate about history and collect old objects as an emotively physical and intellectual way of engaging with it, while fully recognising the vital importance of the archaeological record and scrupulously shunning any acquisition or action that may damage it. Tarring ALL collectors with the same brush - stereotyping them to the lowest common denominator - and demonising them will only serve to alienate or even decimate a section of the population that traditionally has been one of the greatest supports for museums and archaeological research.

Get the message about preserving the archaeological record across by all means but let's bear in mind that a thoughtful and ethical collector can be an ally, not an enemy.

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