Karen's Reviews > Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession

Finders Keepers by Craig Childs
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's review
Jan 09, 2011

really liked it
Read in December, 2010

I liked this book because it brought up a lot of questions I had never thought about - Who "owns" an archaeological artifact? Is it "better" for a low level artifact to be in museum storage, owned by a private collector, or left where it was? What is our goal with archaeology? Is it "better" to spread cultural artifacts around the world for education or to keep artifacts in their cultural context? It was also eye-opening to read about how private demand for artifacts has led to major plundering and how inexpensive, hard-to-spot reproductions on ebay reduce that demand when buyers cant' trust what they are buying.

I wonder whether if a reproduction is exact, how much value should it have? Should museums show them instead and preserve the "real" things. I suppose the same holds true for a painting - if you could create an exact copy of that painting - why is the original worth millions and the copy worth nothing?

Anyway, this book gave rise to many interesting thoughts. I felt like the author was somewhat biased towards his own view (leave things where they are) and that there could have been more research and interesting stories put into the book, but overall I enjoyed it.

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