Sadly, typical

Sadly, typical

Sadly, this incident, while widely reported because it involves a prominent European football star, illustrates many flaws in Italian cultural patrimony laws. These laws are often enforced unevenly, with the powerful and influential escaping prosecution. They tend to focus on punishment alone as a solution to the problem of looting or unauthorized ownership of antiquities, rather than following a more rational model that would encourage reporting of finds by the public with financial incentives. And these laws are based solely on outdated nationalistic, emotional arguments that all Roman antiquities, for example, must belong to the modern Italian state, which of course has very little relationship to the vast majority of ancient Roman artifacts. In the case of Pompeii and many other Italian archaeological sites, the near total neglect of these sites, in terms of the Italian government’s overall financial resources, is a disgrace, given the sheer scale of tourism these sites generate. Perhaps I’ll engage in a more detailed examination of these issues using this blog in the near future.

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