The Ethics of Context: Exploring Assumptions in Discussions About the Looting of Archaeological Sites

ARCA Journal of Art Crime, Fall/Winter 2010

University of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1133

2 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2010 Last revised: 22 Jan 2011

Date Written: October 5, 2010

Abstract

This Editorial Essay explores underlying assumptions in arguments that increased regulation of the antiquities trade will combat the looting crisis, thereby preserving archaeological context. The Essay first distinguishes between ethical and legal arguments regarding illicit excavation of archaeological materials. The Essay next considers whether archaeological context is "ethically worthy" because it helps people discover their past, or whether it is simply information to be commodified. Finally, the Essay compares the ethical worth of context versus the immediate, palpable needs of subsistence looters.

Keywords: Archaeology, Archaeology Law, Cultural Property Law, Cultural Heritage, Heritage Law, Preservation, Indigenous

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Alderman, Kimberly, The Ethics of Context: Exploring Assumptions in Discussions About the Looting of Archaeological Sites (October 5, 2010). ARCA Journal of Art Crime, Fall/Winter 2010, University of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1133, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1687803

Kimberly Alderman (Contact Author)

The Alderman Law Firm ( email )

PO Box 2001
215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53701
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.aldermanlawfirm.com

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