JAIC 1997, Volume 36, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 49 to 58)
CONSERVATION AND THE ANTIQUITIES TRADE
ABSTRACT—Experience as an expert witness in a case involving some looted Byzantine mosaics from Cyprus led the author to examine the role of conservation in the antiquities trade. To understand the significance of looting, the author discusses the concept of archaeological context and how looting robs artifacts of their context, thus severely compromising their scientific value. Conservators may, through treatment and analysis of artifacts on the market, unwittingly contribute to that loss of information. The author presents some of the complex ethical issues involved in the treatment of archaeological material, including the proper understanding of the consequences of those treatments, in the hopes that the topic will be opened up for discussion.