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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Looting
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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Looting

Well, maybe not quite *everything*, but darn near close.   The University at Buffalo Anthropology Department has put together a comprehensive website called, “The ‘Looting Question’ Bibliography: Web and Literary Resources on the Archaeological Politics of Private Collecting, Commercial Treasure Hunting, Looting and ‘Professional’ Archaeology.”  As promised by the website, it is indeed comprehensive, and has lots of good links and references, both online and in the real.

Bookmark it, print it out, sleep with it under your pillow.  It’s just that good.

Hat tip: Tom Flynn.

13 Comments

  • Hi Kimberly;

    In my view, this site and its bibliography are a disgrace to academic research. It is merely a list of publications by and for archaeologists and does not even attempt to address the vast published scope of private and public collector thought on the subject. Just take a look at the list of contributors and you can see in a heartbeat how “comprehensive” it is. Better yet, do a search for “ancient coin” in the bibliography and see how much dialogue you get. My search yielded zero. Could anyone believe that the ancient coin collecting blogs are unknown to these assemblers? No, they were ignored, as pedantic academics typically do. This is really a joke and given your typically fair assessments I’m surprised that you give it any credibility at all here.

    Regards,

    Wayne

    • Wowzas! That’s a lot of heat over a link.

      I don’t think that you can say “disgrace to academic research” and “why aren’t there more blogs listed” in the same breath. Blogs are not academic publications, they are editorial comments. Also, it looks like this bib is focusing on archaeological materials other than trade goods, and that’s up to the aggregator. If there are specific academic publications that you think should be included, then you should make a list and send it to Dr. Jarvis.

      Huffing and puffing without making specific suggestions for improvement will not effect positive change, and it sounds quite unreasonable.

  • Any “heat” certainly did not come from the link but from the advertised nature of the item itself. The bibliography page is prefaced by:

    “This resource is intended to be provide a comprehensive overview of what is often a controversial topic, for scholarly and classroom use. Coverage is intended to include extreme perspectives as well as more neutral or consensus-seeking views.”

    My previous comment was not so much about the line item inventory of the bibliography (though it is woefully unbalanced) as it was about the apparent mindset of the assembler(s) who appear to have searched only as far as their own perspective found expedient (hence my aspersion). The bibliography cites at least two blogs that express an unambiguous point of view—those of SAFE and David Gill. It contains no blog reference from the opposite viewpoint. David Meadows in his “Explorator” regularly cites at least two such opposing view blogs and sometimes more. Shouldn’t a bibliographer that can find SAFE and Gill also be able to find Meadows (Rogue Classicist)? Granted, the University of Buffalo assemblers have the right to include or omit any title or resources they choose. But, please don’t insult us by calling this balance.

    Regards,

    Wayne

    • Thank you for clarifying the reasons for your disappointment. I certainly did not mean to insult you by posting a link to what I still think is quite an impressive collection of resources. But if you have any specific academic resources that you would like to point out are omitted from the list that might help provide more perceived balance, I would be happy to include them here in this comment thread.

      Best,

      Kimberly

  • Hi Kimberly- I have to agree with Wayne. This is a selective bibliography that leaves out opposing views. I’ll admit I only skimmed this, but as far as I could see on a quick run through no Merryman, no Cuno, no FitzGibbon, no Pearlstein, no Fitzpatrick, etc. On coins, no Sayles, no Welsh, and no me for that matter. A number of the sources cited in the bibliography are only available on the web (Elkins for example), thus you comment about academic resources is perhaps a bit misplaced as well. In any event, Merryman, Cuno, FitzGibbon, Pearlstein and myself have all done academic pieces so even if only those are being considered, they are missing from what purports to be a balanced bibliography.

    Best,

    Peter Tompa

    • Peter — Thank you for articulating your specific concerns. My comment about academics was in response to Wayne’s thesis that the bibliography was a “disgrace to academic research.” Has anyone sent these concerns to the author/manager of the bibliography?

  • Kimberly;

    I will admit that my Pattonesque comment was offensive and I do apologize for the lack of personal sensitivity (one of my many imperfections), but my opinion of the academic value remains unchanged. I have posted a more complete response in my blog and will follow up with a supplementary bibliography to be posted soon on the ACCG web site. The assembler of the Buffalo bibliography may select from that anything that is thought to be of value – or, ignore it – as the case may be. Thank you for providing the impetus for me to undertake this long-needed project. It is indeed better than “huffing and puffing”.

    Regards,

    Wayne

  • K,
    Well, I had no idea that circulating that bib would generate quite so much heat. Perhaps I should have attached a health warning when I sent it to you. It is indeed a useful resource, predictable coin-collecting opposition notwithstanding. And Cuno has had enough media exposure in recent years. A few years back we had a book of essays on the Marbles turned down by CUP on the grounds that it wasn’t balanced. It wasn’t meant to be. It was intended as a reply to the miles of shelves groaning under the weight of anti-repatriation texts like Cuno’s, which are anything but balanced. Bravo for posting.
    T

  • I’ll try to make this my last word, so as not to belabor the point. My comment was not an attack, it was a reaction. Yes, coin collecting opposition IS predictable, as you say, and that opposition extends to ideological proselytization within academia. The classroom is a place for impressionable minds to absorb varied and sometimes conflicting information and learn to evaluate. It is not an indoctrination center. Consequently, a lack of balance in the exposure (this bibliography) is an insult to the academic process and its very traditions. My crime seems to have been saying this in a public forum. I responded here because Kimberly Alderman is a balanced voice with an open mind. I was confident that she would weigh my opinion whether she agrees with me or not.

  • While I often find “The Looting Question” a useful resource, I am continually amazed that much of the work directly related to looting and looters (that of Kimbra Smith, Sam Migliore, Christina Luke, Julie Hollowell and my own research) is not included in the bibliography. A good effort, but not the definitive “everything you wanted to know about looting”.

  • Kimberly- For a more balanced bibliography, see that provided by the CPRI on its website: http://www.cprinst.org/readings

    It has the additional benefit of citing your own work on the subject!

    Best,

    Peter Tompa

  • Yes, Wayne’s surely right to encourage final postings on this thread, but before I exit, pursued by a bear, I’m keen to dispel the notion that students on the ARCA Masters Course in International Art Crime Studies – to whom I originally circulated this bibliography – are anything but impressionable. Nor is the ARCA course viewed by any of its professors or visiting lecturers as an opportunity to ‘indoctrinate’ students. I’m pretty sure of that. The cultural heritage field is divided and polemical enough without those divisive and entrenched positions being brought into the classroom. That said, as a student I preferred lecturers and professors who manifestly believed in something and yes, were unafraid of taking up positions on ideological matters. However the real admiration was always reserved for those professors who could navigate the line between personal passionate belief and academic objectivity and keep the two in creative balance. Most bibliographies are helpful in some way, but the truly comprehensive, ‘balanced’ bibliography is surely a chimera. The Buffalo bib was intended to be helpful, not a tool of indoctrination. Let’s all add to it and make it better.
    Regards
    Tom

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