A Blogger Who Likes "Loot" Writes: The Best Book on the Subject
"In short, the best archaeopolitics book I’ve read since Edward Fox’s Sacred Geography." So writes Alun Salt, an archeology doctoral candidate in England, at his blog, ArcheoAstronomy.
Salt devotes a very long post to the book. Among his generous observations:
"Despite disagreeing with Waxman’s conclusions I think this (the Turkish) part is written very well, like the rest of the book, and it genuinely helpful in explaining what the concerns of the museums which have bought illicit material are. Waxman uses the Lydian Hoard as an example of artefacts which are now much less visible (or even not visible at all in the case of one brooch). What is particularly impressive is the way she’s able to glide between the issues of accessibility and security and the very personal tales of people who’s lives have been changed by the smuggling of the hoard without any sense of grinding gears. As far as writing about the past goes, I think this section could be used as an example even for some of the more literate archaeologists."
and here's another:
"Waxman puts forward the argument that True is being made a scapegoat for the Getty’s lack of ethics, which is true, and that this is unfair - which I struggle with. For a start foreign justice is always rough justice, mainly because foreigners have this habit of having their own laws which you don’t fully understand. This works both ways. In the UK many of us are baffled as to how bankers involved with a financial swindle can be sent to the USA under terror laws. Secondly scapegoating is, for a certain stratum of society, a fairly common experience of justice. Minor drug dealers are imprisoned for long lengths of time to hurt the activities of the big players, who aren’t the ones inside. It seems a common law enforcement tactic that, if you can’t get the major criminals, you make the ones you can catch pay. I don’t have a lot of sympathy with drug dealers, and similarly I don’t have a lot of sympathy with True. Perhaps if I met her and found out what a nice person she was my view might change. I’m also sure there are many amiable drug dealers too, but I don’t see that as a basis for changing the law. I also don’t imagine that many defendants in Italian courts have hugely rich museums bankrolling their defence."
"Loot is not just a good introduction to the illicit antiquities problem, it’s also a useful contribution to the debate upon what should be done about it."