Wednesday, March 02, 2016

An Intellectual Curiosity

"We treat all stakeholders with a vested interest in the site with the same intellectual curiosity, which means we interact with and learn from local populations, dealers, collectors, looters, government employees, archaeologists, museum professionals, tourists, and customs agents."

 Morag Kersal,
Archaeologist and Assistant Professor at DePaul University

Treating ancient coin collectors with intellectual curiosity is an interesting way for Professor Morag Kersal to describe interaction with a learning discipline that is older than any university in the world.  Some of the foremost names in international leadership, social justice, art, science, literature, philanthropy, commerce and virtually every other facet of life were collectors of ancient coins.  Of course they are viewed with a certain level of curiosity because they typically find their tactile learning experience a passion, as well as exceptionally educational and rewarding endeavor.  Today, that remarkable experience continues to attract people of very diverse stations in life and does indeed make them vested stakeholders in preserving the past.   Collectors, through tourism and social media, often interact with local populations in regions where ancient cultures left their mark.  They obviously have a close connection to dealers who trade internationally in licit coins from virtually every corner of the earth.  As a group, collectors are closely knit and delight in sharing discoveries.  While few of them ever interact directly with looters, they clearly suffer the consequences of looting as much as anyone else who has a love of the past.  A collector interacts with government employees, including customs agents, virtually every time an order is placed in the international market.  In spite of ideologically driven recrimination, they frequently and proudly share their knowledge and experience with archaeologists, museum workers and other academic professionals.  It should be no wonder that intellectual curiosity comes into play when interacting with ancient coin collectors—they are certainly worthy of the distinction.   

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