Two blogs have recently come to my attention that both, in their own way, highlight certain aspects of the antiquities trade/heritage preservation issues worldwide, and deserve further exposure here.
The first blog, simply called "Looting," administered by Dr. Nathan Craig and Margaret Brown-Vega, details the ongoing threat of grave robbing/looting ('huaqueando' in Spanish) still encountered throughout Peru and South America. Most entries consist primarily of photos of all the scattered remains, discarded "worthless" artifacts, and irreparably scarred landscapes left behind by looting. The broken bones, the complete ceramics with holes punched through them from looter's testing poles, the cloth scraps, hair, etc. All that context and irreplaceable data, all that disrespect and violation of the ancestors, just so the still-impoverished looters can feed the habits of rich middlemen and the international market. As poignant as the blog is, this is the kind of information that needs to be broadcast far and wide, wherever it occurs.
The other blog, "Culture in Peril," is run by one Mr. Nicholas Merkelson, an up-and-coming early career archaeologist and cultural heritage specialist with field experience from Spain to Kenya, museological experience at the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of Kenya, and current employment with Adventures in Preservation, a sustainable heritage tourism company. With a world-wide focus, centred more on the ethics/controversy inherent in heritage conservation, site preservation, and the illicit trade in themselves, more than news from any one region, this blog nevertheless offers well-reasoned arguments, a breadth of stories and unrestricted commenting. To quote from his initial post (Feb 7th, 2010) "Culture in Peril will point followers towards the latest reports of heritage issues ongoing in the world today and provide insight into why and how these issues are--and must be--a concern to every individual." In this blogger's opinion, Culture in Peril is meeting it's goal very well!
Keep up the good work, and Season's Greetings, readers!