October 29, 2006



I'd like to draw attention to three interesting IW&A-related books (heads up to Dr. Jack Sasson's Agade and Chuck Jones's Iraqcrisis mailing lists):

• E. Robson, L. Treadwell and Ch. Gosden (eds.), Who Owns Objects?: The Ethics and Politics of Collecting Cultural Artefacts, Oxbow Books, 2006, 156 pp.

Who owns cultural objects? and who has the right to own them? The contributors to this book have thought long and hard about the ethics and politics of collecting, from a variety of professional perspectives: archaeologist, museum curator, antiquities dealer, collector, legislator. The book is the outcome of a series of lectures and workshops held in Oxford in October-December 2004. It brings together some stimulating and provocative opinions, that would not usually be found together; archaeology and cultural heritage students rarely come into contact with antiquities dealers or collectors, for instance; museum curators rarely get to know the production processes and rationales behind the legislation and ethical codes they have to abide by. The aim is to provoke thought and debate on this topical and sensitive subject area.

Table of Contents
  • Introduction and Acknowledgements Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Brodie)
  • Overview and Assessment after Fifty Years of Collecting in a Changing World (George Ortiz)
  • Archaeologists, Collectors, and Museums (John Boardman)
  • Barriers or Bridges? Museums and Acquisitions in the Light of New Legal and Voluntary Codes (Paul Roberts)
  • Who Owns Objects? A View from the Coin Trade (Ursula Kampmann)
  • Who Owns Objects? A View from the Antiquities Trade (James Ede)
  • Cultural Property: a Contribution to the Debate (Nicholas Mayhew)
  • Recent UK Measures against the International Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects: Examining the New Regulatory Framework (David Gaimster)
  • Repatriation and its Discontents: the Glasgow Experience (Mark O'Neill)
  • Index.

• N. Brodie, M.M. Kersel, Ch. Luke and K. Walker Tubb, Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade, University Press Florida, 2006, 368 pp.

Archaeological artifacts have become a traded commodity in large part because the global reach of Western society allows easy access to the world's archaeological heritage. Acquired by the world's leading museums and private collectors, antiquities have been removed from archaeological sites, monuments, or cultural institutions and illegally traded. This collection of essays by world-recognized experts investigates the ways that com-modifying artifacts fuels the destruction of archaeological heritage and considers what can be done to protect it. Despite growing national and international legislation to protect cultural heritage, increasing numbers of archaeological sites--among them, war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq--are subject to pillage as the monetary value of artifacts rises. Offering comprehensive examinations of archaeological site looting, the antiquities trade, the ruin of cultural heritage resources, and the international efforts to combat their destruction, the authors argue that the antiquities market impacts cultural heritage around the world and is a burgeoning global crisis.

Neil Brodie is research director of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. Morag M. Kersel, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge, is studying the legal trade of antiquities in the Middle East. Christina Luke is a research fellow in the department of archaeology at Boston University. Kathryn Walker Tubb is a lecturer in cultural heritage studies and conservation in the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London.

Table of Contents
  • Introduction by Neil Brodie
  • Protecting Cultural Heritage in Conflict by Lyndel Prott
  • Law, Politics and Archaeology: The U.S. Legal Response to the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage by Marina Papa Sokal
  • Recent United States Legal Developments in the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage by Patty Gerstenblith
  • Convicted Dealers: What it tells us by Peter Watson
  • St. Lawrence Island's Legal Market in Archaeological Goods by Julie Hollowell
  • A Model Anti-Looting Educational Program by Robert D. Hicks
  • The Plunder of the Ulua Valley, Honduras and a Market Analysis for its Antiquities by Christina Luke and John Henderson
  • Looting Lydia: The Destruction of an Archaeological Landscape in Western Turkey by Christopher H. Roosevelt and Christina Luke
  • From the Ground to the Buyer: How Artifacts Move Through Markets by Morag M. Kersel
  • The Plunder of Iraq's Archaeological Heritage 1991-2004 and the London Antiquities Trade by Neil Brodie
  • Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage: An Exceptional Case? by Juliette van Krieken-Pieters
  • Illicit Trafficking and Antiques Trade in India Recovery, Renewed Efforts to Save and Preserve India's Heritage by S. K. Pachauri
  • Museum Acquisitions: Responsibilities for the Illicit Traffic in Antiquities by Colin Renfrew
  • Structural Complexity and Social Conflict in Managing the Past at Copán, Honduras by Lena Mortensen
  • Supporting and Promoting the Idea of a Shared Cultural Patrimony by Paula Kay Lazrus
  • Artifacts and Emotion by Kathryn Walker Tubb
  • Conclusion: Transformed Values by Neil Brodie and Christina Luke

• N.T. Bernhardsson, Reclaiming a Plundered Past. Archaeology and Nation Building in Modern Iraq, University of Texas Press, 2006, 348 pp

The looting of the Iraqi National Museum in April of 2003 provoked a world outcry at the loss of artifacts regarded as part of humanity's shared cultural patrimony. But though the losses were unprecedented in scale, the museum looting was hardly the first time that Iraqi heirlooms had been plundered or put to political uses. From the beginning of archaeology as a modern science in the nineteenth century, Europeans excavated and appropriated Iraqi antiquities as relics of the birth of Western civilization. Since Iraq was created in 1921, the modern state has used archaeology to forge a connection to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and/or Islamic empires and so build a sense of nationhood among Iraqis of differing religious traditions and ethnicities.

This book delves into the ways that archaeology and politics intertwined in Iraq during the British Mandate and the first years of nationhood before World War II. Magnus Bernhardsson begins with the work of British archaeologists who conducted extensive excavations in Iraq and sent their finds to the museums of Europe. He then traces how Iraqis' growing sense of nationhood led them to confront the British over antiquities law and the division of archaeological finds between Iraq and foreign excavators. He shows how Iraq's control over its archaeological patrimony was directly tied to the balance of political power and how it increased as power shifted to the Iraqi government. Finally he examines how Iraqi leaders, including Saddam Hussein, have used archaeology and history to legitimize the state and its political actions

Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Early Excavations in Mesopotamia
  • World War I and the British Occupation (1900-1921)
  • From Mesopotamia to Iraq: Politics during the Mandate (1921-1932)
  • Mandated Archaeology: The Creation of the Museum and the Vibrant Archaeological Scene (1921-1932)
  • Independent Nation--Independent Archaeology (1932-1941)
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Works Consulted
  • Index


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