[meteorite-list] NOT [OT]

From: Starbits_at_aol.com <Starbits_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:11 2004
Message-ID: <34.1c3ad630.28f90912_at_aol.com>

I thought it was a good compilation of meteorite related laws. Certain things bothered me though. Such as

<UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting
 and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer
 of Ownership of Cultural Property: This Convention,
 ratified by over 90 states, provides for tracking and
 retrieving from reciprocating states, cultural
 property including meteorites.>

A review of the UNESCO site indicates no specific references to meteorites. There was a conference held in 1970 whose specific purpose was to lay down the ground rules on the return of cultural property which had been stolen, during wartime or otherwise. A portion of the approved articles read as follows:

<Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property Done at Paris, 14 November 1970 Entry into force, 24 April 1972
                       Article 1

   For the purposes of this Convention, the term "cultural property" means property which, on religious or secular grounds, is specifically designated by each State as being of importance for archaeology,prehistory, history, literature, art or science and which belongs to the following categories:

  a.Rare collections and specimens of fauna, flora, minerals and anatomy, and objects of palaeontological interest;>

It certainly isn't a stretch to say meteorites are minerals. However "each state" must "specifically" designate an item as important. Canada, it appears, has done so for meteorites, but there was no indication that any other state had done so in this article. That is not to say it couldn't be easily done. But is it "cultural" property?

Unesco, in its World Conference on cultural Policies, held in Mexico City in 1982, states "that the notion of culture is generally taken in its broadest sense, as covering all the distinctive spiritual and material, intellectual and emotional features characterizing a society or social group."

I find it very difficult, with certain isolated exceptions, to find that meteorites in any way characterize a society or social group. Even in the broadest sense meteorites are not cultural. This is espcially true of ones that just fell. It takes the interaction of a society with a meteorite, such as the indians and the willamette iron, to give it a cultural relationship. But, if lawyers can make O.J. Simpson innocent.....

Another statement that bothered me was "however there were incidents of important meteorites, or find data, being lost to science." While we have talked forever on this list about the loss of find data can anyone identify any "important meteorite...being lost to science"?

Eric Olson
Received on Fri 12 Oct 2001 11:03:46 PM PDT

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