Thursday, December 03, 2015

Archaeologists, Marxism and History for the Few

A really characteristic blog post illustrates the mantra of radical archaeology: private individuals should not be allowed to possess artifacts, they should be reserved for the exclusive purpose of study by archaeologists and other academics:

Unfortunately for this perspective, archaeology is not a primary source for the development of history, while numismatics certainly is. History and archaeology are two very different disciplines, and for an archaeologist to claim that archaeology in some way owns, manages or controls the discipline of history is a really amazing display of arrogance and ignorance.

Historians aren't likely to have any interest in this fanatic or his archaeological fantasies, but numismatists have good reason to resent and detest his constant belittlement and ridicule of those who by any objective standard of assessment, are very much his betters.

Not content with assailing such luminaries as Wayne Sayles, Arthur Houghton and others who have advocated collectors' rights, this archaeologist now hurls his putrid vitriol upon Harlan Berk, who is one of the friendliest, nicest and most knowledgeable professional numismatists I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Harlan Berk is also very successful at what he does, and this perhaps explains his being singled out as a target by a bitter and angry individual whose brief career as an archaeologist was very far from successful, and who now teaches English in Warsaw.

Marxists rabidly hate the notion of anyone profiting from what they assert to be the inherent property of everyone - in this case, coins. Harlan Berk believes that the way to treat coins is to disseminate them among the public as widely as possible. Somehow, that strikes this observer as being a far better way to preserve and disseminate their importance than locking them away in institutional custody.