Home Forums Who owns the past? Who owns the past? Reply To: Who owns the past?

Dean Riley

I do not think that there is a cut and dry answer as to who should own artifacts from the past. When the find is a building such as the Akropolis or the Parthenon, there is no questions that the find belongs to the city and country that it is in. It should not be dismantled and reconstructed elsewhere. When the find is mobile is when the answer becomes a little less easy to find. I would tend to lean towards the same rules that determine mineral rights. Whoever owns the land where the artifact is found, should be the owner of it. If the owner agreed to have a third party come into their land to look for artifacts, then whatever agreement was made by the land owner should be honored. When the land is not owned by anyone, such as international water, then the ownership is whoever makes the find. I do however believe that in instances where the owner and who discovers it is different, the discoverer should be acknowledged by having it named after them such as the Funerary Krater belonging to the Hirschfeld Workshop.