Monday, March 1, 2010

Upcoming lecture March 4th at the Weisman

Who Owns the Past? Competing Claims for Antiquities from the Holy Land
Dr. Morag Kersel, Joukowsky Institute at Brown University

As artifacts travel from the ground to the consumer in the marketplace, recent research has shown that there are multiple stakeholders with competing claims in the legal trade in antiquities. In Israel it is legal to buy and sell artifacts from legally sanctioned dealers, if the collections pre-date the 1978 national ownership law. Not all aspects of this trade are legal, however, and not all participants have an equal voice. The market in Israel is comprised of archaeologists, collectors, customs officials, dealers, government employees, looters, middlemen, museum professionals, and tourists, all expressing a degree of entitlement in the acquisition and disposition of artifacts. Adding to the complexity of the situation is the porous nature of the borders between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority as artifacts in the market come from those areas and go out to Europe, the Far East, and the United States. The journey of a Roman coin from the Palestinian countryside to the Upper West side of New York City allows the examination of the various positions in the debate over who owns the past.

Reception and sneak preview of the exhibit "Everyday Life at the Crossroads of the Ancient Mediterranean" to follow lecture.

Dr. Morag Kersel is a post-doctoral fellow with the Joukowksy Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, and is also conducting field projects with The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. She holds her degrees from Queens University, the University of Toronto (M.A.), the University of Georgia (M.A. in Historic Preservation), and the University of Cambridge (Ph.D. in Archaeology). Her areas of specialization are Cultural Heritage Protection, East Mediterranean and Levantine Prehistory, legal issues in Anthropology and Anthropological ethics, Heritage Tourism, and Museum Practice. Dr. Kersel is currently Associate Director of REGAL (Regional Exploration into the Galilean Archaeological Landscape, Israel), Co-Director of Following the Pots Project, Jordan, and Field School Director of the Keros Archaeological Project, Cyclades, Greece.

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