Archaeologists, collectors, museums and John Boardman

Brodie, N. (2007), ‘Archaeologists, collectors, museums and John Boardman’, Culture Without Context (20), 5-8.

John Boardman has recently offered us his views on the antiquities trade (Boardman 2006). The issue, as he sees it, is clear: a small clique of ‘politically-correct’ and ‘philistine’archaeologists and legislators imbued with a’fanaticism of disgust’ have embarked on a’witch-hunt’ against a broader constituency of collectors and museums. The ‘restrictive practices’ of this clique produce a ‘censorship of scholarship’ that is ‘unrealistic’, ‘unjust and dangerous’. Meanwhile, in the ‘real world’,motivated by a ‘spirit of discovery’ and a ‘zeal for antiquity’, the collectors and museums ‘save for scholarship and public enjoyment’ antiquities that would otherwise be lost or destroyed, and ‘blessed with perception and scholarly expertise’ they ‘share knowledge and information’ derived from their study of them.