An archaeologist's tracking of the (primarily) Southern Hemisphere illicit antiquities trade.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Getting the (Copper) Out
This link will point you to a Salon.com article written by Associated Press reporter Donna Bryson, for which myself and my colleague Dougald O'Reilly were interviewed. In the end, the report focused on the theft of contemporary bronze sculptures and statuary from South African art museums, so that these expensive, highly elaborate pieces could be sold for next to nothing and melted down for scrap. A real crime in its own right! However, Dougald and I were happy to provide comparative information on the Southeast Asian antiquities trade, specifically the looting and sale of metal artifacts from late prehistoric contexts. Although no equivalent rash of museum thefts in Southeast Asia has come to my attention, the information we provided would come in handy if a media release comparing the antiquities trade situations in Southern Africa (or across the continent) and Southeast Asia should be written in future. In my opinion, there is ample room for comparison.
Currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History. Research interests include Southeast Asian archaeology, bioarchaeology, human osteology, quantifying the antiquities trade, and the use of educational games as teaching tools.