There are so many flaws in this article, that its hard to know where to start.
The basic premise of it seems to be that the return of artefacts is a bad thing, even when they were clearly acquired illegally in fairly recent times. The reasoning is that the author claims that as a result of laws forbidding looting, fewer new archaeological discoveries have been made. This is backed up with some rather iffy statistics.
The comments at the end of the article go some way towards highlighting some of the problems in the article:
- The statistical analysis methods used are completely flawed.
- The author supports their argument with the post hoc ergo propter hoc, and false analogy logical falacies.
- The reported results do not appear to correlate with the findings of others.
- The author equates UNESCO world heritage sites with Archaeological sites, with no clear logic to why these two should correlate.
The global average temperature v decline in pirates graph makes a lot more sense than some of the analysis presented here.
The fact is, that the subject is a serious issue, and the article just seems to completely miss the point, with the aim of drawing some rather odd conclusions. If you thought James Cuno’s views were a bit out of sync with reality, then you probably won’t make much sense of this article either.
As Jason Felch (a former LA times journalist who documented the events leading up to the return of the Aphrodite statue from the Getty) noted on Twitter “News Side & Editorial opinions are separate at newspapers. This didn’t deserve to appear in either”.
Aphrodite statue returned to the Getty by Italy
Los Angeles Times
The archaeology paradox: more laws, less treasure
Tight restrictions on export and ownership of artifacts is leaving the world a poorer place.
By Adam Wallwork
April 7, 2014
The Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and Sotheby’s auction house — these are just some of the major institutions that have been forced to repatriate artworks in recent years. Italy, Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Cambodia have all successfully used their cultural property laws to secure the return of important antiquities from collectors and museums.
Treasures from King Tutankhamen’s tomb that had been in the Met’s collection for almost a century went back to Egypt. In 2006, the Met agreed to return the Euphronios krater, a masterpiece Greek urn that had been a museum draw since 1972. In 2007, the Getty agreed to return 40 objects to Italy, including a marble Aphrodite, in the midst of looting scandals. And in December, Sotheby’s and a private owner agreed to return an ancient Khmer statue of a warrior, pulled from auction two years before, to Cambodia.
Read the rest of this entry »