Of Two Minds About Hobby Lobby Ancient Artifacts

Hobby Lobby got caught lying to import Iraqi antiquities, which it is illegal to export from Iraq, and illegal to import into the US. 
Many of the items were looted during wartime, and were mailed to different addresses labeled from Turkey and Israel, and labeled as tiles, not as Archeological finds of much more value.

I have always been of two minds about looting of Archeological items. “Grave Robbers” or looters, if you prefer, although I prefer amateur archaeologist, have given us things such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Of course, amateurs tend to lose the scientific knowledge that goes with careful analysis of the site, and this is indeed terrible, but there are about a million known sites that are available for analysis, and it would take centuries to do the known work even if no more sites were found.

Sarah Parcak, the world’s leading Space Archeologist, has discovered 300 unknown sites just in Egypt, and she leads some 40,000 amateurs who are studying high definition Google maps, looking for sites worldwide.

Museums are more than chock full of Items that they could not display in a century. Yes, they are available to scientists, who often “rediscover” knowledge from stored items, but I just learned that the Smithsonian has 40 million fossils in deep storage. What harm is it that an occasional artifact or fossil finds its way into private hands?

Believe me, I would greatly prefer that a family enjoy an artifact rather than see it, or rather never see it while it resides in the third level basement of a museum.

In an ideal world, all ancient artifacts would be discovered by scientists, analyzed, catalogued, then sold off to museums, or private hands and tracked, in case they are needed for further study.

But that is unrealistic. There is a market for ancient artifacts, but there is also an unnecessary hoarding of ancient artifacts. There is no say solution, but Hobby Lobby was going to display what they bought.

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