When communities collide: Competing claims for archaeological objects in the market place
Kersel, M. (2011), ‘When communities collide: Competing claims for archaeological objects in the market place’, Archaeologies 7 (3), 518-537.
Rather than recount a specific archaeological project and its community relationships, in the following, I consider the competing claims for archaeological objects by the various groups associated with the illegal and legal trade in antiquities. For nearly a decade I have examined the efficacy of cultural heritage laws in the protection of eastern Mediterranean archaeological landscapes. More specifically, I am interested in the contentious issues surrounding legalized antiquities markets as a means of protecting the archaeological past. In order to assess the value of various legal instruments I attempt to engage with the communities who claim an interest in the buying, selling, protection or appreciation of antiquities. The list of communities is long, varied and often at odds with each other. Reconciling these competing claims is a Herculean task, but one worthy of investigation as questions of inclusion, responsibilities and ownership of cultural heritage are at the forefront of an engaged archaeology.