Erin Thompson


15 December 2020

The Vessel with the Pestle

As soon as the auction was announced, scholars protested at the sale of potentially looted antiquities to support an organisation that wants to bring classics to the masses (which is a bit like trying to support a charity that helps protect people from human trafficking by auctioning off the services of an undocumented worker to clean your house without pay). Admirably, Classics for All soon responded by withdrawing from the auction.

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17 April 2020

Own a Piece of the (Very Recent) Past

Once, after a lovely evening of drinks and dinner, my date invited me back to his apartment to see the Greek vases he had inherited from his godparents. I’m an art historian who studies the criminal underside of the antiquities market. As he rooted around in his cupboards, I tried to think of the most tactful way to tell him that the vases, bought without any information about their source, had probably been looted from an archaeological site. He finally unearthed them from an old Tupperware box above his refrigerator. The objects he plunked down in front of me had clearly not been looted. ‘Oh, but these are all fakes!’ I blurted out with relief. Way to ruin a date.

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