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Archaeological antiquities should not be sold on the open market

8 August 2017

Flinders Petrie in the field documenting recently excavated artefacts, c. 1900. Image courtesy of the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Alice Stevenson, writing in The Conversation, explains why the 'legal' sale of antiquities from public museums into private ownership should be challenged.

Following a number of high-profile cases regarding illicit antiquities, collectors and museums are reminded of the need to undertake due diligence in checking collections’ histories before purchasing cultural property.

However Alice writes that even the legal sale of cultural property is ethically problematic with the integrity and access to objects being at risk as there are currently no international legal protections for cultural property in private possession.

Alice is Senior Lecturer in Museum Studies at the Institute. She is PI on the AHRC-funded research project on Artefacts of Excavation and is Chair of the Association of Curators of Collections for Egypt and Sudan.

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