In article <[log in to unmask]>, W. J. Frey
<[log in to unmask]> writes
> When I spoke of the frequent acceptance of fakes in the earlier letter,
>was thinking in particular of the famous Etruscan vases which decorated the
>lobby of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art for many decades, only
>detected as counterfeit by a happenstance of sunlight and the educated eye
>of an astute woman. I still cannot accept that originality imparts some
>mystic aura. Those who bought those vases for the museum were not jerks.
>And actually, nor were the vases worthless just because they were counterfeit.
I think that Bill makes a fair point here. Good counterfeits do have
artistic merit. But I think that the issue is one of perception. If
people believe a fake to be genuine then it will be imbued with the same
mystic aura as if it really was genuine. Fakes only capture the public
imagination if they are spectacular. Piltdown Man, for example has its
own appeal as an artefact because it is such a FAMOUS fake. But I would
contest that in an exhibition dealing with this hoax, the viewing public
would want to see the genuine fake, not a copy of it!
> Nonetheless, be that as it may, whatever, I would personally be
>by an entire Stonehenge rendered in its final (IIIa?) form. I should think
>it would be an enjoyment for the British archaelogical community (if there
>is such a thing) to contribute to such a reconstruction. It is not that the
>original need be cut off from public view, only from desecration. Not
>limited to academics, but at least to those who do not desire to chip off
>souvenirs nor test the tensile capacity of a lintel.
I think that it is fair to say that reproductions do have their place,
and the exercise of reconstruction can itself be instructive. However,
having dirtied my hands in archaeological digs and worked my way through
museum collections, both as a research student and as a museum
professional, I still get a buzz from handling the "real thing". I know
from watching children interact with handling collections that they do
too- It helps them to feel in touch with history in a way that
reproductions never can.
As for you not getting your way, this whole subject is giving me a sense
of deja vu- I am sure that I remember a conversation with a friend who
was fantasising about reconstructing Stonehenge at a motorway service
station off the M40! If enough people like the idea it may yet happen!
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