Exhibition – The Past Sold

April 3 – May 13, 2017

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, located on the campus of the University of Chicago, is hosting an exhibition on movable heritage. The exhibition will highlight the importance of archaeological context, emphasizing that the movement of objects can be either positive; when removal is properly documented using approved methodology, or negative; such as when sites are plundered or destroyed. It is that latter which renders them useless to archaeologists and historians seeking to understand and reconstruct the past from the remains of ancient cultures.

The exhibition’s title The Past Sold, developed out of the Past for Sale research project undertaken at the Neubauer Collegium. This initiative brought together experts in the field of heritage looting who shared issues of common concern regarding what is known about the looting of cultural heritage sites by both opportunistic and more systematically organised looters.

The exhibit is designed to stimulate dialogue on the complexity of this important issue and encourages visitors to engage in the ethical debate of acquiring cultural heritage objects from around the globe.

Asking the important question “Where does the art you enjoy in any given exhibit come from?”

The exhibit reminds us that sometimes whole sites are destroyed in the hunt for the best “marketable” objects and that individual objects on the less than transparent art market, are often difficult to trace to the country of origin, never mind to the original site.

The curators hope the exhibition will foster new conversations about the collection of pilfered objects of questionable origin.

For information please see the exhibition webpage here.