November 16, 2005

Hershel Shanks: Buy Loot or Lose It?

Here's a question that the Israeli archeological community needs to ask: Suppose you are sitting in your office in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and a lawyer comes in who tells you he has a client whose identity even he doesn't know who has some antiquities for sale. He shows you a picture.

The antiquities have obviously been looted, probably from the West Bank, but they are important. They tell us something significant about our history. And there is no question as to their authenticity. Moreover, the price is reasonable. Suppose you are a museum curator, scholar, collector or a licensed antiquities dealer. What should you do?

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