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Re: taking sherds from sites in Israel?

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  • arenmaeir
    Although at present this is against the Israeli antiquities law, I for one would be very happy if licensed archaeological excavations were permitted by law to
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 2, 2007
      Although at present this is against the Israeli antiquities law, I
      for one would be very happy if licensed archaeological excavations
      were permitted by law to sell discarded pottery sherds (meaning body
      sherds that have been collected in official survey and excavations,
      washed, "read," and discarded as of no use), which in the current
      situation we "rebury" on site in a "sherd graveyard" (sic transit
      gloria mundi). I would gladly sell them (or in fact, even give them
      away) as souvenirs to tourists, to supporters, etc., which might
      provide us with another, even if limited, source of income for our
      scientific endeavors.

      Clearly though, in light of the current legal status, I do not do
      this ...

      On the other hand, if someone is interested in funding the
      excavations without having to give out sherds - I'd be happy to
      accept funds in other ways :-)

      Aren Maeir
      gath.wordpress.com
    • Clark Whelton
      ... Joe Zias My house is built on land that was settled by Dutch colonists in the 17th century CE. For years my wife has been telling me that in the spring
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 2, 2007
        >>>>>> Collecting sherds or what is also known as 'sherding' has been
        >>>>>> illegal ever since I can remember as surface surveys are an important
        >>>>>> part of the profession. In fact, some scholars believe that areas
        >>>>>> should be rechecked every 25 yrs of so as new material resurfaces
        >>>>>> from time to time....
        Joe Zias


        My house is built on land that was settled by Dutch colonists in the 17th
        century CE. For years my wife has been telling me that in the spring she
        finds shards of old potttery, fragments of glass, clay tobacco pipes, nails,
        oyster shells, buttons etc. that emerge from the earth during the winter
        months. This seemed unlikely to me, but for the last three autumns I have
        raked specific areas clean. In the spring, sure enough, shards and other
        old objects can be found on the surface. How and why this happens I have no
        idea. Perhaps it's the frost. But I would suggest checking the surface of
        archaeologically important areas more frequently than every 25 years.


        Clark Whelton
        New York
      • arenmaeir
        Clearly, one must revisit sites every few years if you want to start understanding it. Experienced archaeological surveyers know that to get a good sherding
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 2, 2007
          Clearly, one must revisit sites every few years if you want to start
          understanding it. Experienced archaeological surveyers know that to get
          a good "sherding representation" you have to return to a site several
          times during the period of a regional survey. At different times of the
          year (so as to get site exposure with different types of vegetation
          coverage, etc.) and over a period of more than a year, so as to benefit
          from various geomorphological changes. Surveys based on a one time
          visit to sites in a given region, although without a doubt revealing
          important evidence, represent only a small portion of the information
          that is available on surface. In fact, very often, surveys with the
          best information are those conducted over extended periods (in some
          cases, decades), usualy by a local afficianados, in which sites are re-
          visited time and again and one gets a truly in-depth knowledge of a
          region, even if extensive excavations are not conducted.

          Aren
        • Eliot Braun
          Sherding or any removal of antiquities from sites should never be done by anyone unless she or he is licensed to do so and unless there is an archaeological
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 3, 2007
            "Sherding" or any removal of antiquities from sites should never be done by anyone unless she or he is licensed to do so and unless there is an archaeological report published on it. Each successive removal removes something of the archaeological profile of the site and, ipso facto, diminishes it. Casual collectors should be discouraged. I would recommend, for those who still would like the thrill of discovery and the excitement of finding ancient artifacts on visits to sites to try using a a digital camera, especially with macro capabilities and take photos of objects picked up and placed back where they were found as soon as they are examined. The array of surface material is just as important as its presence on a site (see: Robert McCormick Adams' Land Behind Baghdad and the Uruk Countryside).

            My other suggestion is that, should some very special object be found and the finder is capable of overcoming the lust of collecting, that its place be noted. Then it should be turned over to whatever legal authority is in charge of the site and responsible for curating its antiquities.



            Eliot Braun, Ph D, masquerading as Dr Pangloss
            Ha-oren 12, Har Adar 90836, Israel
            Tel. 972-2-5345687 / 972-2-5704189
            Cell: 972-50-223 1096
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: arenmaeir
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 8:49 AM
            Subject: [ANE-2] Re: repeat visit to sites


            Clearly, one must revisit sites every few years if you want to start
            understanding it. Experienced archaeological surveyers know that to get
            a good "sherding representation" you have to return to a site several
            times during the period of a regional survey. At different times of the
            year (so as to get site exposure with different types of vegetation
            coverage, etc.) and over a period of more than a year, so as to benefit
            from various geomorphological changes. Surveys based on a one time
            visit to sites in a given region, although without a doubt revealing
            important evidence, represent only a small portion of the information
            that is available on surface. In fact, very often, surveys with the
            best information are those conducted over extended periods (in some
            cases, decades), usualy by a local afficianados, in which sites are re-
            visited time and again and one gets a truly in-depth knowledge of a
            region, even if extensive excavations are not conducted.

            Aren






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • cejo@uchicago.edu
            ... Which reminds me to remind you all of: Robert McCormick Adams: Land Behind Baghdad http://www.etana.org/abzu/coretext.pl?RC=20303 Robert McCormick Adams:
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 3, 2007
              > ...The array of surface material is just as
              > important as its presence on a site (see: Robert McCormick Adams' Land Behind Baghdad and
              > the Uruk Countryside).

              Which reminds me to remind you all of:

              Robert McCormick Adams: Land Behind Baghdad
              http://www.etana.org/abzu/coretext.pl?RC=20303

              Robert McCormick Adams: The Uruk Countryside
              http://www.etana.org/abzu/coretext.pl?RC=20309

              Robert McCormick Adams: Heartland of cities
              http://www.etana.org/abzu/coretext.pl?RC=20243

              -Chuck Jones-
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