Anti-Americanism and the Archaeological Blogospherehttp://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2013/09/anti-americanism-and-archaeological.html
by Peter Tompa
It's become increasingly apparent that the anti-collector rhetoric of the archaeological blogosphere goes hand in hand with anti-Americanism. Archaeo-blogger Paul Barford may have deleted the latest evidence from his blog called "A Word from President Putin to American Collectors", but the point stands.
And it's not just Mr. Barford. Another archaeo-blogger, Professor David Gill of University Campus Suffolk, is no less anti-American. It's just that he's far more subtle about it-- while Gill even fixates on pottery shards being repatriated from American museums, he's been largely silent about the provenance of artifacts in other museums, particularly ones in places like Greece, Italy and Turkey.
Is "American Exceptionalism" really the driving force behind damage to world cultural heritage or has "Archaeological Anti-Americanism" diverted attention away from real solutions to the problem?
The archaeological blogosphere -- that Wolkenkukkuksheim in cyberspace -- reeks of verbo-flatus from archaeoblogger Paul Barford.
Earlier in his career, his talents were manifested in "The Early Slavs," an outstanding account of the origins and development of eastern European Slavic peoples. More recently he publishes in a far less desirable way, e.g. nearly everything said in his blog.
Mr. Barford's disagreeable, disruptive personality perfectly matches the UK detectorist community's characterization of him as an "amazing talking arsehole." This abrasive archaeo-fanatic is cordially disliked by nearly everyone who has ever had the misfortune to encounter him, personally or online in one of his cyberpersonae.
Barford revels in being as offensive to his betters (nearly everyone else in the world) as possible. His combative countenance positively cries out for a shattering collision with one's fists.
This observer has had more experience than anyone else in dealing with "That troll Barford" from his days as a member of Unidroit-L, an online discussion list focusing on cultural property law. Barford was "seen off" after less than a year as a member -- by a coalition of members outraged by his anti-collecting posts. The same fate awaited him on the Moneta-L and AncientArtifacts discussion lists, where the listmembers and listowners refused to tolerate his disruptive presence.
Mr. Barford is (as Tompa observes) rabidly anti-American as well as anti-collecting. Barford opposes many beneficial, honorable recreational activities Americans treasure as part of their personal freedom. His choice of residence explains his visceral opposition to personal freedom.
Poland (formerly a Stalinist communist state) was partitioned before the First World War between Russia, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After WWI Poland was governed by a regime centered around the Obóz Zjednoczenia Narodowego political movement, little better in its brutal ways than the Nazis.
Poland was overwhelmed by a Nazi blitzkrieg in September 1939, when the brief defensive campaign was strategically unsound and became a dreadful fiasco, culminating in an attack on German Panzers by the Polish Lancers.
In this Slavic Fascist tradition, it is fitting that Mr. Barford, who failed to matriculate from the Institute of Archaeology in London, practiced archaeolgical fieldwork for a few years and then moved to Poland, now resides in Warsaw, where he occasionally translates documents.