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Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities
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Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel, Christina Luke, and Kathryn Walker Tubb

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780813029726

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813029726.001.0001

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Conclusion the Social and Cultural Contexts of Collecting

Conclusion the Social and Cultural Contexts of Collecting

(p.303) 17 Conclusion the Social and Cultural Contexts of Collecting
Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade

Neil Brodie

Morag M. Kersel

Kathryn Walker Tubb

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses how, starting in the fifteenth century but particularly since the late nineteenth century, artists have imagined the aesthetic qualities of different categories of archaeological material. In analyzing the motivations and justifications of antiquities collectors, it also points to the almost fetishistic power of the antiquity to transform personal and social values. In addition, some outline proposals for future research are given. It specifically turns to the why question in order to investigate some of the complex issues that are critical for understanding and resolving the problem. The analysis focuses, in particular, on the ways in which collectors use archaeological heritage as symbolic capital to gain social status and prestige. The antiquities trade is a very human phenomenon and offers ample scope for the playing out of rivalries and conceits, for displays of power and largesse, for the pursuit and realization of overarching ambition, for broaching (or creating) social barriers, or simply for earning a living.

Keywords:   collecting, antiquities collectors, antiquity, archaeological heritage, antiquities trade

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