Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Antiquities trade

Antiquities trade

Antiquities trade

Dear Editor,

After reading your article of March 15-28 "One man's passion: saving the past

for the future" I felt I should address the issue of the antiquities trade.

Although Mr Nou's collecting activities sound innocuous enough there are some very

unsettling aspects to the article. I should begin by saying that I applaud his efforts

in collecting cultural relics from the recent past as Cambodian "pop" culture

is under-documented. The disturbing aspect of this article is the attitude taken

regarding the acquisition of archaeological materials by a private collector. Mr

Nou's line of reasoning; "If I had not bought it, the country would have lost

it forever" is all too common in Cambodia. If Mr Nou had not bought the pot

there would be less reason for looters to dig up more pots like it. In buying antiquities,

even out of genuine concern, people encourage and accelerate the trade, driving up

prices and making the activity all the more lucrative.

Mr Nou's artefacts come from sites of different ages that are immense importance

in understanding Cambodia's history and culture. Unfortunately any scientific information

that could be used in the unravelling of the past is lost when sites are looted.

No one really knows where these artefacts came from or the context in which they

were found or how old they really are. By gaining one beautiful pot for display,

Cambodia loses an important and irreplaceable clue to its ancient past.

- Dr Dougald O'Reilly, Lecturer, Faculty of Archaeology, Royal University of Fine

Arts

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Malaysia MP accused of ‘influencing law’

    Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Sng arrived in Siem Reap early on Wednesday, in what was slammed by one NGO as efforts by Kuala Lumpur to “influence Cambodian law”. The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh requested on January 30 “cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign

  • Ministries begin measures to offset EU’s EBA decision

    In the wake of the EU’s controversial announcement this week that it has begun the withdrawal process for Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential agreement, government ministries and political analysts continued to share their reactions and economic mitigation plans in preparation for the

  • Emirates launches route connecting Phnom Penh, Bangkok

    Emirates will launch a daily service on June 1 linking Phnom Penh (PNH) and Bangkok (BKK). The service from Phnom Penh to Dubai, via Bangkok, will provide more flight options to passengers travelling between the capitals of Cambodia and Thailand. Travellers from the Southeast Asian nations