Call for Abstracts: The Pre-Columbian Antiquities Market: Reflections, Critiques, and Effecting Change

22 Jul 2016


Donna Yates, along with Cara Tremain, are organising a session at the upcoming Society for American Archaeology meeting in Vancouver, with an eye towards a subsequent journal special issue or edited volume. If you would like to submit an abstract to the call below, please email it to either Cara or Donna before 20 August 2016.

The Pre-Columbian Antiquities Market: Reflections, Critiques, and Effecting Change

82nd Annual SAA Meeting, Vancouver, B.C.

Cara Grace Tremain, University of Calgary:
Donna Yates, University of Glasgow:

Pre-Columbian antiquities are among the most popular items in the international antiquities market. Because of the opaque nature of the antiquities market as well as the phenomenal growth of online and alternative sales platforms in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for the scholarly community to monitor the Pre-Columbian antiquities market. Studies into this market are limited, repetitive, or outdated; we may not have a real sense of the nature and function of the current market for Pre-Columbian objects. Without this information it is unlikely that we will be able to positively influence policy in this area or effect substantive change.

This session will explore past, current, and future policies and trends concerning the sale of antiquities from Central and South America. By exposing some of the developments through time, and reviewing some of the most prominent individuals and organizations that have bought and sold at auction, a clearer understanding of the current state of research into the market for Pre-Columbian objects can be achieved. Having outlined gaps in our knowledge, this session seeks to identify the substantive steps that the academic community can take towards effecting transparency, accountability, and ethical practice within the Pre-Columbian antiquities market.