Biblical Archaeology Review 11:4, July/August 1985

BARview: Dubitante No More—BAR to Accept Ads for Near Eastern Antiquities

By Hershel Shanks

Biblical Archaeology Review

During the past several months we have had an extended discussion in these pages as to whether BAR should accept ads from dealers in Near Eastern antiquities. This discussion began in “The Verdict on Advertisements for Near Eastern Antiquities—Dubitante,” BAR 10:06, which concluded “dubitante”—in doubt. There followed the expression of views from our readers and extensive discussion with many archaeologists, museum curators, scholars and dealers. As a result, we believe our thinking on the subject has now been clarified, and we are ready to announce our decision.

BAR will henceforth accept advertisements for Near Eastern antiquities. We have conscientiously tried to weigh the pros and cons, and this is where we come out.

There are, as far as we have been able to discern, two reasons for not accepting antiquities ads in BAR. First, it is wrong, as a matter of principle, because we thereby become a participant in a process of distributing illegally excavated artifacts. Second, to some small extent the acceptance of antiquities ads actually increases illegal excavations because this creates a demand for the illegal product and therefore encourages illegal digging that might otherwise not take place.

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