Monday, 11 May 2009

EBay, Archaeology and Fakes

My favourite story of the day regards a metal detector who has been jailed for selling fakes Of course it is sad when someone decides to con others especially when he is trading off his reputation as a renowned finder of rare items. If you are interested in what he did read the article on the Times site before Mr Murdoch decides to implement a charging mechanism and watches his visitor count plummet.

Most interesting to me was the link between this and another article which appeared on an American archaeology site. Here a Professor Stanish has written regarding the fact that eBay has not become the source of all evil that most in the time team supporting fraternity thought it would.

When eBay launched, many thought that the fact that you could buy antiquities online direct from those who found them would encourage a rise in looting and people running off the Egypt to come back with statues stuffed down your trousers. In fact what it has down has created a world of online fakes. Why travel the world when you can knock up a knock off in the shed at the bottom of the garden. It seems those people who used to go off looting and sell what they found to middlemen now sell fakes direct with a lot less risk as you cannot be nicked for importing forgeries only if you get caught selling them.

In the paper Stanish states:
"because the low-end antiquities market has been flooded with fakes that people buy for a fraction of what a genuine object would cost, the value of the real artefacts has gone down as well, making old-fashioned looting less lucrative."

I'm off to buy that fake pyramid now!

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