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SAA 83rd annual meeting: Real, Recent, or Replica? Amerindian (and Neo-Amerindian) Iconography in the Caribbean

11 April 2018 - 15 April 2018
 Washington DC

The 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology will take place from the 11th to 15th of April 2018 in Washington DC. 

Joanna Ostapkowicz, University of Oxford (joanna.ostapkowicz@arch.ox.ac.uk)
Jonathan A. Hanna, Pennsylvania State University (jah1147@psu.edu)

Symposium Abstract

Collectors of antiquities have long sought the ornate pottery and carved wood and stonework of the pre-Columbian Caribbean - a quick search for “Saladoid” or “Taino” on internet gallery/auction sites shows a thriving black market. Its scale has remained largely unexplored, to the detriment of regional and international archaeology and museology. In response to the increasingly growing market, various attempts have been made to discourage looting via replica workshops, community archaeology, and other interventions. Many efforts prove unsustainable, however, and in some cases participants were left with the skills to both identify Amerindian remains and create forgeries that eventually end up on display in museums. This symposium will examine the unintended consequences, cautionary tales, and lessons learned from an often overlooked – but highly prolific - region of the antiquities market. In the process, we will illuminate new understandings and strategies for both combating the global antiquities trade and encouraging sustainable economic impacts for those who make a living creating new art forms, inspired by the past yet reinterpreted for the present.

To the Researchers

The seminar will serve as a platform to explore a wide variety of interrelated issues, including – but not limited to – participants with experiences of attempted interventions, trained looters, forgery artists, and problematic private and museum collections.

Final Papers are due by March 11th, 2018, to give the Discussant time to prepare their remarks.

SAA 83rd Annual Meeting official website

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