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The Many Lives of Maya Antiquities: Tracking Distribution and Redistribution through Auction Catalogues

Author(s): Cara G. Tremain

Year: 2017

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Glossy sales catalogues published by high-end auction houses present a seemingly endless supply of antiquities for purchase from around the world. These catalogues offer insight into market trends and allow the volume of antiquities being bought and sold at auction to be monitored. At a time when the internet auction market is growing, and the publication of information in catalogue form is declining, it is important to record and share data from available sales catalogues. This paper presents the results of a systematic study of Maya antiquities at auction, using sales catalogues that cover a period of more than 50 years. Quantitative studies of auction catalogues are useful for understanding the volume of antiquities that have been bought and sold at auction; the types of antiquities that are more vulnerable to looting and forgery; and whether the market is becoming more or less opaque with respect to provenance. Studies such as these, although time consuming and hampered by the difficulties of accessing information, are important for an understanding of the past and current market in antiquities.

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The Many Lives of Maya Antiquities: Tracking Distribution and Redistribution through Auction Catalogues. Cara G. Tremain. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430104)


Antiquities Auction Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15208

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America