A Question of Provenance: Evidence and the Antiquities Market

Thursday Lecture Series, Evidence

March 3, 2011 Thursday, 12:15pm EST The Heyman Center, Columbia University

Morag Kersel’s talk discussed the role that provenance (that is, the documented history of ownership and exchange) and provenience (the scientifically documented find-spot and its context) play in determining the legal status, market value, and archaeological significance of antiquities. Although evidence of an object’s history can support claims for its authenticity, and thus increase its monetary value to dealers and collectors, this evidence is frequently concealed or manufactured to avoid legal restrictions on the excavation and trade in antiquities.