Unprovenanced and Unpublished

Sidebar to: Magic Incantation Bowls

In the November/December 2005 issue, we published an article on ancient Near Eastern house shrines found in Israel, Jordan and elsewhere.a The story was culled from a manuscript written by three Israeli scholars based on house shrines in the private collection of Shlomo Moussaieff, a major collector who willingly makes his collection available to scholars. At the time, the scholars who prepared their scholarly manuscript were fearful of publishing the manuscript under their own name because of the possible obloquy that would result from the archaeological establishment, largely in England and the United States, by exposing the public and other scholars to insights obtained from unprovenanced—and probably looted—artifacts in private collections. Both the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) will not allow papers on unprovenanced objects to be published in their scholarly journals or presented at their meetings.

At least two of these scholars, we are told, have now successfully screwed their courage to the sticking point, perhaps as a result of our article, and have decided to publish their paper in a festschrift, a book of scholarly papers in honor of a particular scholar, usually on the occasion of an important birthday, but sometimes in memoriam.

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