Archaeology as a profession faces two major problems. First, it is the poorest of the poor. Only paltry sums are available for excavating and even less is available for publishing the results and preserving the sites once excavated. Yet archaeologists deal with priceless objects every day. Second, there is the problem of illegal excavation, resulting in museum-quality pieces being sold to the highest bidder.
I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke provide funds for archaeology and reduce the amount of illegal digging. I would propose that scientific archeological expeditions and governmental authorities sell excavated artifacts on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for the excavation and preservation of archaeological sites and the publication of results. At the same time, they would break the illegal excavator’s grip on the market, thereby decreasing the inducement to engage in illegal activities.
You might object that professionals excavate to acquire knowledge, not money. Moreover, ancient artifacts are part of our global cultural heritage, which should be available for all to appreciate, not sold to the highest bidder. I agree. Sell nothing that has unique artistic merit or scientific value. But, you might reply everything that comes out of the ground has scientific value. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every artifact has potential scientific value. Practically, you are wrong.
I refer to the thousands of pottery vessels and ancient lamps that are essentially duplicates of one another. In one small excavation in Cyprus, archaeologists recently uncovered 2,000 virtually indistinguishable small jugs in a single courtyard, Even precious royal seal impressions known as l’melekh handles have been found in abundance—more than 4,000 examples so far.
The basements of museums are simply not large enough to store the artifacts that are likely to be discovered in the future. There is not enough money even to catalogue the finds; as a result, they cannot be found again and become as inaccessible as if they had never been discovered. Indeed, with the help of a computer, sold artifacts could be more accessible than are the pieces stored in bulging museum basements. Prior to sale, each could be photographed and the list of the purchasers could be maintained on the computer. A purchaser could even be required to agree to return the piece if it should become needed for scientific purposes.
It would be unrealistic to suggest that illegal digging would stop if artifacts were sold on the open market. But the demand for the clandestine product would be substantially reduced. Who would want an unmarked pot when another was available whose provenance was known, and that was dated stratigraphically地层学地层中的岩石组成 by the professional archaeologist who excavated it?
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to propose
2. The author implies that all of the following statements about duplicate artifacts are true EXCEPT
3. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as a disadvantage of storing artifacts in museum basements?
4. The author mentions the excavation in Cyprus in the fourth paragraph to emphasize which of the following points?
5. The author’s argument concerning the effect of the official sale of duplicate artifacts on illegal excavation is based on which of the following assumptions?
6. The author anticipates which of the following initial objections to the adoption of his proposal?
7. The author implies that which of the following would occur if duplicate artifacts were sold on the open market?
I. Illegal excavation would eventually cease completely.
II. Cyprus would become the primary source of marketable duplicate artifacts.
III. Archaeologists would be able to publish the results of their excavations more frequently than they currently do.
8. The word outrageous (exceeding the limits of what is usual) in the second paragraph is closest in meaning to
9. The phrase at one stroke (at one stroke: adv.一笔, 一举) in the second paragraph is closest in meaning to
10. The word stratigraphically (stratigraphy: n.地层学, 地层中的岩石组成) in the second paragraph is closest in meaning to
11. The word provenance in the second paragraph is closest in meaning to