The Corner

The Antiquity Debate

Speaking of “MINE!”: Here’s a story in the New York Times about archaeologists upset with a man who has salvaged an ancient Chinese shipwreck. He’s now auctioning thousands of pieces of pottery, and will rake in millions doing it. Archaelogists are complaining: “These [artifacts] have to be conserved and that takes a lot of time and expense.” There’s an assumption that old relics would be in much better hands if only professional academics were allowed to control them. Not so. Check out article from the Toronto Star about how the University of Toronto recently threw out 280 boxes of Indian artifacts. Now they’re in a Michigan landfill. Isn’t it clear that sometimes the private antiquities market is sometimes the best option for artifacts?

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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