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Who Should Own The World's Antiquities?

Publication Date: 
May 14, 2009
The New York Review Of Books
Hugh Eakin

Professor John Henry Merryman is quoted and referenced in The New York Review Of Books in a review of a book that discusses the problematic nature of ownership of antiquities:

Cuno's Manichaean view of cultural property—with national laws facing off against cosmopolitan museums—draws on several sources. From the Stanford legal scholar John Henry Merryman he appropriates the idea that archaeological countries tend to be "retentionist"—they aim to retain antiquities within their borders—whereas art-market countries like the United States are "internationalist"—supporting maximum dispersal. ...


Now, philosophically, Cuno's proposal holds considerable appeal: by removing nation-states from the equation, it would shift the debate over antiquities from disputes about ownership to the more urgent matter of "stewardship"—the term Cuno, following John Henry Merryman, uses for the paramount goals of care and preservation. ...