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Conclusion "Selling the Past: United States v. Frederick Schultz"
April 22, 2002

If maintained, Judge Rakoff's decision to uphold foreign antiquities laws within the United States may help to eliminate the economic niche occupied by less ethical collectors and dealers. Lord Renfrew of the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre at Cambridge University says that he feels the conviction may also demand a sea change in the practices of many well-known museums. "It should serve as a warning not only to dealers but also to museum trustees that they risk bringing their institutions into disrepute worldwide if they fail to develop and apply ethical acquisitions policies," he says.

Most importantly, the conviction should lay the legal groundwork for previously exploited nations to have greater control over their own past, while preserving vital details of the archaeological record that looters have so often swept away.

"If affirmed on appeal it will establish the McClain doctrine for the New York area, the center of the antiquities trade in the United States," says Gerstenblith. "The McClain doctrine is very important for assisting in the preservation of archaeological sites throughout the world and ensuring that the U.S. does not become a haven for looted objects."

According to Egyptian newspaper reports, almost all of the antiquities involved in the case have been recovered and are on display in the Cairo Museum except for the head of Amenhotep III, which was used as collateral for a Citibank loan.

Schultz was sentenced on June 11. ARCHAEOLOGY will follow any appeals as the Schultz case comes to a conclusion.

Details on the Trial: Ten Years in the Making

International Antiquities Law Since 1900

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© 2002 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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