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Mythology Of The Antiquities Market

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Chapter Summary

This chapter suggests a way to account for the intransigence of collectors and dealers who seem to be in denial about the reality of the looting problem. In trying to understand how the proponents of the art market can continue to deny their basic responsibility for stimulating the looting of archaeological sites, the chapter explores the notion that they have embraced a mythology that insulates them from the destructive reality of the antiquities market. The chapter describes five essential myths of the antiquities market: (1) the myth of the old collection, (2) the myth of the chance find, (3) the myth of the reputable dealer, (4) the myth of the collector as guardian of the past, and (5) the myth of the guilty source country.

Keywords: antiquities market; looted archaeological sites



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