Treasures Pose Ethics Issues for Smithsonian
The contents of the exhibition, “Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds,” were mined by a commercial treasure hunter and not according to academic methods, a practice that many archaeologists deplore, equating it with modern-day piracy.
In an April 5 letter to the top official at the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough, a group of archaeologists and anthropologists from the National Academy of Sciences — including Robert McCormick Adams, a former leader of the Smithsonian — wrote that proceeding with the exhibition would “severely damage the stature and reputation” of the institution.
The members of the National Academy of Sciences are not alone. In recent weeks organizations including the Society for American Archaeology, the Council of American Maritime Museums and the International Committee for Underwater Cultural Heritage, as well as groups within the Smithsonian, including the members of the anthropology department and the Senate of Scientists at its National Museum of Natural History, have urged Mr. Clough to reconsider.
comments powered by Disqus
- A column by Johns Hopkins historian N. D. B. Connolly causes a firestorm on the website of New York Times
- Garry Wills says the Pope is scarring the dickens out of rich people
- Tufts Prof: Obama Needs to Invite Jesse Jackson to White House
- Hilary Swank will play Emory historian Deborah Lipstadt in upcoming movie
- History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?