3 of 2? Well, I intended there to be 2, with comments added by readers, but today I received the following message from Joe Zias, & felt it merited its own blog entry:
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 9:06 AM
If you are willing to put on your blog the following admission of error, unedited and complete, then you have my permission to run it. If you choose to run it under those conditions, I hope it satisfies your wishes and that this is the end of our communications. My statement is as follows:
“Seems that I was mis-informed by colleagues in the IAA and that my earlier statement , that stamped jar handles are not exportable, was in error. It would appear that when I spoke to someone in the IAA, they were expressing what they were fighting for at that time, which for certain legal reasons was not achieved. Therefore, these jar handles are not in the category of inscriptions which are unique but are stamped similar to coinage and to a certain degree rather plentiful., even though they are like the estimated 95% of the objects on the market today, coming from looted sites, Much to our dismay, they are exportable for the time being. Remember, we in the arch. community, unlike dealers and collectors, are looking out for the interests of all of humankind, trying to protect the past so as to educate those in the future. Archaeological sites, including stamped jar handles are not ‘born again” For every looted site, for every ‘lmlk’ jar handle which was robbed out by looters and purchased by collectors and dealers, that’s one more part of our and your history, that has disappeared. from the face of the earth”
In conclusion, I would add that just as his original information was not scientifically obtained, & now we have an admission that it was based on what certain still-unnamed individuals at the IAA “were fighting for”, which I’m guessing is not part of their official job description, but merely personal biases; so too his estimate that 95% of antiquities come from looted sites is also based on personal biases rather than a scientific study. If I’m wrong, I hope someone will publish actual data.
In any event, I stand by my suggestions in Part 1 that the best thing to do is rid The Land of real troublemakers, & provide legitimate jobs for those interested in participating in Israel’s economy & retrieving History.
Furthermore, to discourage looting, the IAA should encourage chance finders of antiquities to report them to the IAA, & after properly documenting them, sell them wholesale to licensed dealers for resale, or auction them online, & in either case, keep 50% of the proceeds, & reimburse the finder with the other 50%. Thereafter, anyone caught selling undocumented antiquities should be fined at double the actual value of the antiquities they’re caught with. In lieu of a fine in case they cannot afford it, they should be forced to perform hard manual labor at excavation sites for a period equating to the fine according to whatever the minimum wage is.
This is just my starting-point suggestion, but there shouldn’t be any prisons. Kill the real troublemakers, & fine the thieves. Jails should only be used to temporarily detain suspects until they’ve had their “day in court”.