Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Decontextualization: The Warsaw Connection

David Knell felt the urge to get into this:


"A genuine provenance is a guarantee that an item was not recently looted. Every time you deal in an ancient coin with no regard for where it came from, you are encouraging others to do likewise and encouraging looters to continue destroying the evidence on which history is built in order to supply more of them. That continues in a never-ending cycle until every undisturbed site has gone. It really is that simple!

No amount of fluff and no amount of flannel can alter that fundamental fact. It really is that simple!

If Dave Welsh seriously wants to protect the future of ancient coin collecting as a socially-acceptable hobby, I suggest he opposes those who would ban it altogether with sound arguments and rational compromise rather than expose the trade to ridicule by consistently flying in the face of common sense. As it stands, he is in danger of being one of the coin trade's own worst enemies."

If David Knell had any real interest in protecting the future of ancient coin collecting as a hobby, he would take the trouble to actually learn something about it, before making pronouncements regarding "obligations" which he contends that collectors of, and dealers in, ancient coins have. His basis for making such contentions is clearly a belief that looting of archaeological sites is caused by collecting of unprovenanced artifacts. Although Mr. Knell does not explicitly say so, it is obvious that he believes collecting of unprovenanced artifacts in Europe and North America to be the causation factor at issue.

My reason for saying this is that it is clear that no one in most of the rest of the world has yet shown an inclination to pay any attention to the heritage-preservation advocacy's contentions that collecting of unprovenanced artifacts is reprehensible. If Mr. Knell had a genuine interest in ancient coin collecting, and accordingly took the trouble to study it and learn what ancient coin collectors and dealers in these objects actually do, he would not suggest that they are morally obligated to restrict their activities to objects which are practically unobtainable, for no better reason than the ceaseless braying of a few ignorant and arrogant individuals (mostly archaeologists and academics) about a subject they don't understand, because of their belief in an unproven and unprovable hypothesis. It really is that simple! 

Another aspect of Mr. Knell's blog observations which is troubling for those who have a genuine interest iin ancient coin collecting as an avocation, is the connection to Paul Barford's blog and what I have to say regarding certain matters discussed there.

Mr. Barford is justifiably detested by almost everyone involved in collecting ancient coins and the numismatic trade. He has received some support from Dr. Nathan Elkins, but it is hard to bring to mind others with credentials in the field who give any credence to Barford's anticollecting rants.

If Mr. Knell had a genuine interest in influencing the opinions of ancient coin collectors and dealers, he would not want to risk being thought of as someone with a connection to Mr. Barford. As things stand, he does appear to be very much in Mr. Barford's corner.