Monday, March 21, 2011

Only "Western archaeological concerns"?

Stepping into the role of a political commentator, Californian antiquity dealer Dave Welsh solemnly intones:
Whatever one's perspective regarding Libyan governmental legitimacy, such a state of flux is disturbing. In such circumstances there is always some risk that Western archaeological concerns may not be respected. At this point it appears that all that can be hoped for is that a Libyan regime will emerge which is sympathetic to Western archaeological concerns.
Why "western"? Is the "west" the only home of archaeologists who might be concerned about anything? Do brown skinned people in African countries not count for anything in the US antiquity dealers' world-view?

It seems that when it comes down to it the collectors who claim to be so culturally cosmopolitan which justifies their ripping off other people's cultural heritage are in fact just as ethnically biased as can be when their guard is down.