Sunday, February 22, 2009

Some Recent Discussions about Nighthawking and the Ancient Coin Trade

One of the perks of working in Europe is nationalized health care. Eight years ago or more, I was told my wisdom teeth needed to come out, but I could not afford the two thousand dollars it was going to cost. Fortunately, this long overdue dental work is done (all only for a 10 Euro copay!), but the pain and the painkillers have hindered my work over the past week, including posting to this website.

Therefore, I just wanted to draw the attention of my readers to some recent discussions that have developed regarding the "Nighthawking Survey," referenced in my previous post, as well as some other discussion relevant to the ancient coin trade and ethical collecting.

David Gill and Paul Barford have been providing some interesting and enlightening observations on nighthawking in Britain:

"'To Say the Problem is Gone is Absolutely Untrue'" (Gill)
"What Kind of Nighthawking (sic) has Declined?" (Barford)
"The Tide Turns for the British Antiquities Market" (Barford)
"What is Illegal Artefact Hunting in the UK?" (Barford)
"Damage to Archaeological Sites in the UK caused by Illegal Searching and Removal of Antiquities" (Barford)
"Prominent Metal Detectorists says 'Illegal Metal Detecting is Now Virtually Non-Existent'" (Barford)
"British Nighthawks on Facebook" (Barford)
"Regulating the Sales of Artefacts in Britain Soon?" (Barford)

David Gill draws attention to the fact that some ancient coin dealers in the U.S. still completely misunderstand the issues at stake in the dialogue about looting and indiscriminate market demand:

"'Some Activist Archaeologists...[are] too left wing in their approach'"

Paul Barford points out two blogs by antiquities collectors ("Two New Blogs and a Website"). Unlike the blogs of disciples of the ancient coin dealer lobby in the U.S. that have been cropping up left and right, trying to excuse unethical and indiscriminate collecting, these two collector blogs highlight how collectors can be proactive and collect ethically. For a long time I have received a lot of private feedback and encouragment from collectors of ancient coins and antiquities and it is, in my view, now quite refreshing to see that some collectors are starting to come out publicly and combat the mantras and deceptions of tradesmen and those who wish to paint looters as humanitiarians and indiscriminate collectors as erudite rescue archaeologists.

I have been particularly interested in following the blog "Pieces of the Past: Ethical Antiquities Collecting" and I have added it to the feed on the lefthand side of this website.


Anonymous said...

I note your comment regarding collecting - as the author of one of the websites stated I should perhaps point out that I have never kept any finds made - they have either gone to museums / declared treasure - or have been returned to the landowner as the rightful owner

Thank you for the mention in your blog