To steer clear of collecting potential ISIS loot, Richard Stengel, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, recently tweeted this judicious guidance, “Don't sell; don't buy. That's one solution." Collectors would be well advised to heed this recommendation and avoid purchasing cultural heritage objects that appear to have surfaced from war-torn Syria or Iraq.
The captured trove reportedly included bronze coins with Greek, Latin, and Arabic inscriptions (top); silver dirhams (right); copper bracelets (bottom left); gold dinars; cylinder seals; and more. As is typical with the black market trade, the genuine articles appear to have been mixed together with reproductions.
- protect archaeological heritage and uphold the law
- check sources,
- collect sensitively,
- recognize the collector’s role as custodian,
- keep artifacts in one piece and consider the significance of groups of objects,
- promote further study, and
- dispose of artifacts responsibly.
- "Ask the vendor for all relevant paperwork relating to provenance, export etc."
- "Take extra care if collecting particular classes of object which have been subjected to wide-scale recent looting.”
- "Verify a vendor’s reputation independently before buying. Assure yourself that they are using due diligence in their trading practices, and do not support those who knowingly sell fakes as authentic or offer items of questionable provenance."
- "Do not dismember any item, or acquire a fragment which you believe to have been separated from a larger object except through natural means."
- "Consider the implications of buying an item from an associated assemblage and the impact this could have on study."
- "Liaise, where possible, with the academic and broader communities about your artifacts."
Photo credit: U.S. Department of State
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