16 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2018
  2. Sep 2018
    1. Does this resound for all religious beliefs in relation to archaeology or can they be separated?

      I think the point the author is making here is more related to nationalism, race supremacy narratives and other decidedly toxic elements which can be components of religious pseudo-archaeology -but not necessarily either. Fascinating angle though!

    2. unclear boundaries between mainstream and pseudo with the goal of becoming “long neglected truth” (123

      Paradigm shift is sexy, but too often people have historically considered their ideas (which turn out to just be wrong) to be one lying in wait. Still, those shades of gray are what make new questions in fields -even if it can amount to academic navelgazing.

    1. The core of Marlowe’s argument is that nearly all scholarship and understanding of Roman Art is built upon an unstable foundation, a “Shaky Ground”, and that we need to reevaluate how we talk about Roman art, what Roman art we use in analysis and publication, and how we display Roman art in museums. Marlowe says that since the very beginning of the study of ancient Rome, expert opinion has been valued above real analysis; connoisseurship has been valued over context. Thus scholarly work tends to focus on Roman artefacts as art objects and scholars study the artefacts’ merits as they relate to their creator, rather than the long life of the objects within the cultural experience of the Romans.

      This is a much better evaluation than the one above.

    2. as a threat to the very purpose of her profession. A threat to scholarship which scholars are ignoring because to tackle it head-on might force a re-write of Roman art history.

      AGAIN without being too simple about it ("I disagree!") I think this evaluation of Marlowe's book is inaccurate. The reviewer is talking about uncritical study as a 'threat to the very purpose of her profession': I get the impression from other reviews that Marlowe's book is much more critical of any ostensible purpose of archaeology, being completely aware of the way in which fashion, prestige and power have always guided the discipline.

    3. I dig the terminology in this book. I might adopt it. Marlowe uses the terms “grounded” and “ungrounded” to describe artefacts that were excavated archaeologically and those that were not, and I love it. Much more so than more familiar terms like “unprovenanced” or “contextless” etc, “ungrounded” emphases distance from the earth and distance from humanity’s remains. A grounded object is anchored in space and time. An ungrounded object is unconstrained, floating around like a balloon filled with hot air. One provides a solid foundation to build cultural analysis on. The other very clearly does not.

      Without being too glib about it ("I agree!") I think this is a really positive aspect of Marlowe's text. The concepts of being grounded/ungrounded, as well as conoisseurship, enable a deeper engagement with the problems plaguing archaeological inquiry.

    1. The repatriation debate is a third red herring. While repatriation claims may decrease the incentive for looting, repatriation itself rarely restores lost archaeological context. Unfortunately, in most cases we never learn the find-spots of looted antiquities, even after they have been returned to their countries of origin.

      While this is a solid point in some ways, I find it rather dismissive of repatriation and restitution: where's the other side, what's the value of those efforts?

    2. they share in and legitimize the intellectual premises of the art market which depends upon connoisseurship to identity ungrounded antiquities. While much blame has been cast upon collectors and museums in the debate on looting, the complicity of academia has largely been ignored. If scholars were more critical of the ways in which they handle ungrounded antiquities, Marlowe argues, they would reveal the shaky foundations of connoisseurship and thereby destabilize working assumptions of dealers and collectors.

      This is a very satisfying point: it looks explicitly at the way academia creates intellectual/cultural value in society and the way this trendsetting effects other arms of that society.

    3. still star in textbooks and handbooks

      A new angle to look at the endemic problem from: textbooks and reading materials which present a somewhat toxic enchanted archaeology today.

    4. While formal analysis can be a powerful tool, it is by no means perfect. It presumes a great deal about the consistency and development of style and the methods and desires of artists and patrons.

      This is interesting: connoisseurship, as the author puts it, is dangerous as a source because it renders archaeology less precise and dependent upon our perceived norms in ancient art. The exceptions to these norms and finds which might change paradigms are rendered toothless by looting.

    5. in decisions about which objects are the focus of teaching and scholarship.

      This is very unusual and vague wording: feels like a euphemism for something which the author is unwilling to discuss in detail in this review.

    1. The collectors and dealers play a significant role in the laundering process and are arguably the culpable parties in terms of legalities, but what charges can be laid at the feet of the museum?

    2. This may be naive, but how specifically do museums get around the UNESCO policies restricting these practices? Is it money, prestige, strategic doubt on the part of the criminals and their customers, a combination of all three? What challenges have been made concerning the Macedonian wreaths, if any?

    3. Around 4:30, the podcast mentions the process of 'laundering' -creation of auction histories, anonymous Swiss collections, etc. Specific examples beyond eBay and strategic labeling in museums would be very interesting. (Although the notion of strategic labeling by curators is fascinating)

    4. by an illustrious U.S. museum.

      Introduction of the episode (Around 1:36 specifically) emphasizes several of the points we were discussing last week -the vital importance of context, how looting interferes with the process of learning from the artifacts and specifically the role of the museum in that mystification. I'm definitely interested in looking closer at the museum's contributions to the harm done by looters -after all, who would steal the artifacts without fashion or nationalism to demand them?