The piece has predictably provoked an outcry from archaeologists, most of whom point out the flaws in a study based on "factual inaccuracies and logical fallacies". However, let's take a look at the opposing reactions of two non-archaeologists, both of whom are also American lawyers.
The reaction of Peter Tompa, a lawyer lobbying on behalf of American coin dealers, was as predictable as that of the archaeologists, though of course in the opposite direction. Unsurprisingly, in view of the anti-conservationist stance of his clients, he heralded the Wallwork study as suggesting "strict laws that only allow state sponsored archaeologists and cultural bureaucrats legal access to uncovering the past actually diminish discoveries" and at one stage commented that opposition to the piece came from those with an "anti-collector agenda".
In stark contrast to that response, the reaction of Rick St. Hilaire, another lawyer and a professor of cultural property law at Plymouth State University, was utterly in tune with the disapproval expressed by archaeologists. Incisively noting an undertone in the original law journal article suggesting "archaeology is akin to a mining operation whose primary mission is to produce fantastic raw materials for consumption", the law professor questions "whether consumer-driven heritage harvesting is under discussion rather than authentic archaeology".
Rick St. Hilaire rightly quotes the AIA: the mission of archaeology is to "preserve, protect, and interpret the precious record of the human past". Archaeology is about the study of the human past by analysing material evidence; it is NOT only about finding new tourist attractions or digging up loads of pretty objects. Nor is conserving the evidence of the past inherently "anti-collector"; it just doesn't pander to those dealers and collectors who wish to exploit it without consideration for anyone else.