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AIA Lecture: Morag Kersel, DePaulUniversity, “Who Owns the Past? Competing Claims for Antiquities from the Holy Land”

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Date(s) - 09/20/2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture


The East Tennessee Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the McClung Museum present the AIA Joukowsky Lecture, given by Morag Kersel, DePaulUniversity. In her lecture “Who Owns the Past? Competing Claims for Antiquities from the Holy Land”, Kersel explores how over 15 years of research have provided insights on why there is demand for material from the Holy Land and what motivates collectors, both individual and institutional. This interdisciplinary investigation examines the relationship between the demand for Holy Land artifacts and the competing claims to owning the past.

As artifacts travel from the mound to the marketplace, recent research has shown that there are varied buyers with competing claims in the legal antiquities trade.  In Israel it is legal to buy and sell artifacts from legally sanctioned dealers, if the collections pre-date the 1978 national ownership law—however, not all aspects of this trade are legal and some items for sale may or may not have a complete or pristine ownership history.  Critical to understanding this antiquities market and the individuals involved is the recognition of a common desire – everyone wants to own a piece of the Holy Land (modern Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories).

Lectures are held at 7:30 p.m. in the McClung Museum Auditorium and are open to the public and free of charge. A reception will follow each.

Dr. Morag Kersel is with the Department of Anthropology at DePaul University, and holds her degrees from Cambridge University (Ph.D.), the University of Georgia (M.H.P.), the University of Toronto (M.A.) and Queen’s University (B.A.H.).  Her areas of specialization are Eastern Mediterranean and Levantine Prehistory, cultural heritage protection and policy (trade in antiquities, museum practice, and archaeological ethics), and archaeological field school teaching methods.  She is co-director of both the Following the Pots Project in Jordan and the Galilee Prehistory Project in Israel.  Dr. Kersel is an AIA Joukowsky Lecturer for 2018/2019.

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