The Ethics of Context: Exploring Assumptions in Discussions About the Looting of Archaeological Sites
ARCA Journal of Art Crime, Fall/Winter 2010
2 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2010 Last revised: 22 Jan 2011
Date Written: October 5, 2010
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: Suggested Citation