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Friday, October 7, 2011

The 5.7 Million DollarDoll, and some thoughts on Archaeology

I was reading Finders Keepers

by Craig Childs, a memoir/expose of the museum and archaeological world, when I read about the little figurine with a lion head from Mesopotamia, 5000 years old, that sold for $5.7 million dollars in 2007. It broke the record, certainly, for sculpture, but, I'm going to argue that it is also a type of doll, and thus is now the most expensive on record. Childs does not like museums much, or at least how they operate. He is conflicted about leaving every artifact where it is found, and probably most of us who love these ancient and old things have some of the same conflicted feelings. What do you think? There are laws protecting the sale of antiquities, and I will post some of them down the road, but here is what Childs writes:

"Complain as one might about the buying and selling of the past, the fact remains that there is a legitimate antiquities market. It is part of the international arts commerce, a free flow of publicly owned artifacts--such as those from St. Lawrence Island and other pockets of legal sources--that has been going on for as long as there have been early cultures to rrot around in" (107).

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