Anthropology •  Archaeology and Art

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The Ethics of Collecting Cultural Property: Whose Culture? Whose Property?

Second edition, updated and enlarged

Edited by Phyllis Messenger

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) has brought into sharp relief the conflicts among public and private collectors, scholars, and indigenous peoples over the provenience and disposition of cultural property, especially archaeological remains. First published in 1989 and now updated and enlarged, The Ethics of Collecting Cultural Property explores the ethical, legal, and intellectual issues related to excavating, selling, collecting, and owning cultural artifacts. Twenty-two contributors, representing archaeology, law, museum administration, art history, and philosophy, suggest how the numerous interested groups, often at odds, can cooperate to resolve cultural heritage, ownership, and repatriation issues and improve the protection of cultural property worldwide. A new preface and epilogue frame the contemporary debate in a global perspective. The editor provides updated information about domestic and international laws and regulations and enforcement institutions. She has also added "Codes of Ethics" and "Some Organizations and Resources Related to Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Issues."


Phyllis Mauch Messenger is the director of the Center for Anthropology and Cultural Heritage Education at Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota.


"This book is essential reading for any person who buys, sells, owns, looks at, or cares about the human record of the past and what is happening to it."


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6 x 9.25 in. 334 pages 31 halftones