Lately I have made enthusiastic attempts to reach out the growing community of cultural heritage, museum, and archaeology bloggers, in hopes that they might find Culture in Peril a useful resource for the cross-fertilization of ideas. My belief is that certain blogs, though they may cover similar stories in roughly the same short period of time, actually complement each other rather than rehash trite concepts ad nauseam. To read multiple different responses about, say, Italy’s collapsing cultural heritage (for example, here, here, here, and here) not only hammers home the message of the dire straits facing Pompeii and other endangered sites around the world, but also provides a body of knowledge on which to base one’s own perspective. Thus, I’ve made it something of a New Year’s Resolution to more frequently post comments on other blogs, to feature the work of other bloggers, and to engage my audience more directly.
That said, I’d like to return some acknowledgments to a few well-deserving and keen followers of Culture in Peril:
Damien Huffer, an American PhD candidate at Australian National University and a regular contributor to SAFECorner’s Cultural Heritage in Danger, maintains his own fascinating blog, It Surfaced Down Under. He draws from his background in Southeast Asian archaeology to write about and offer educated insights into the global antiquities trade and its effects on research, national identity, cultural preservation. Discussing articles and stories primarily originating in the Southern Hemisphere, Mr. Huffer “seeks to touch on that oft-discussed meme of ‘Who owns heritage?'” and “provides examples of exactly what kinds of information and data [‘context,’ in archaeology speak] have been lost to provide the market with a looted artifact.”
Contemporary Arts in Northern Nigeria is a blog written by Katrin Schulze, who is completing her doctoral work with the Department of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London). Though her specialty focuses on the art and culture of Nigeria, I am grateful to Ms. Schulze for citing Culture in Peril as a key resource for understanding some of the continuous developments related to cultural property. She referred her readers to a February 2010 post (“Subsistence Digging is (Not) Looting?”) for my discussion of the issue of archaeological “looting” among impoverished and marginalized populations.
Additional thanks go out to archaeo-blogger Paul Barford of Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues. Mr. Barford has also covered the unusual partnership between the Southampton Historical Society and its metal-detecting club, Artifact Detecting Team (see this November 2010 post). Always airing on the side of ‘good’ archaeology, he writes, “The museum refers to this scheme with that horrible cliche as a ‘win-win situation’. But it is not a win for the archaeological record of those historical sites still surviving rampant redevelopment in Southampton’s backyards and farm fields, some going back to the colonial period. That is compromised rather than being preserved. That does not seem like a ‘win win’ situation to me.”
Lastly, I’d like to recognize those who have recently ‘blogrolled’ Culture in Peril: Anthropology in Practice; Cultural Heritage in Danger; Illicit Cultural Property; Looting Matters; Searching for Authenticity; Sites of transformations?; and The Archaeology and Heritage Blog.
I look forward to 2011 as a year of collaboration and idea sharing between Culture in Peril and this great community!