[meteorite-list] NOT [OT]

From: dean bessey <deanbessey_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:12 2004
Message-ID: <LAW2-F140YHwPVhc3O200003651_at_hotmail.com>

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<P>&gt;Robert Verish wrote: </P>
<P>&gt;Hello List,&nbsp;The recent thread about pending legislation to further restrict fossil collecting may &gt;not be as much Off-Topic as we would like it to be. </P>
<P>OK. I must have gotten 500 emails on this topic over the last few days as a result of being on a bunch of fossil discussion groups. Artifacts are another example. So exactly what happens when laws are put in place:</P>
<P>(1) Canada. Canada has 57 meteorites. That is a joke. The law keeps people from bothering to care. The soviet union collepsed because there was a lack of financial incentive to do anything. Canadian meteorites rust because of a lack of monetary value. When canadas last meteorite (Hodgeville) got announced there was a big media announcement and the curator of the canadian meteorite museum (I think the same guy who classified it but I might be wrong on that) got the media together and had a very public press conference. One thing that he said was "Its worth US$1 a gram". A lot of people herd that and I know of two institutions in Canada who were swamped with phone calls for several months after that from people who figured that a new rock that they found was a retirement fund. We need more news like that in Canada. If word got out to more people that meteorites might have a value then you can bet that more would be found. That was a job well done as far as publicity and spreading meteorite interest goes on
that one.</P>
<P>(2) SAHARA. Boy. Lets talk about that one (Or maybe we are all already sick of that topic). Seems that all meteorites are found "In the border area". Some cosmic fluke created national boundries with meteorites. Other dealers wont give coordinates and nomads are involved to. A few years ago Morocco tried to make a law prohibiting the export of trilobites. Since the employment rate in eastern morocco and some other places in the Sahara is closer to zero that in some welfare &nbsp;housing projects in North America people were pretty worried about one of their few sources of income getting shut down. Meteorites are never "found" in Morocco. Even the nomads dont want to take a chanch on governments making a law. Libya has indicated that they have problems with so many&nbsp; meteorites leaving. And coordinates are regularly faked. This is of course sometimes to keep other searchers from trampling over their strewnfields but the secrecy is also partly to do with laws or fear of new laws. Us in North America and
 Europe well complain about the loss of scientific data in the Sahara but the loss of data in other countries where governments effectivelly destroy data is ignored by the same people who complain about the sahara. You only have to look at the stupid laws in Canada, Australia and Chaco province in Argentina to realize that the fear of draconian new laws is very real in a poor dictatership where the entire country is some guys personal possession.</P>
<P>(3) Artifacts. How often do artifacts get location data faked. If you go to Peru you can buy lots of pottery and things. In fact there is so much now that the local "black marketers" (Dont you love that word) cant sell it anymore - especially since the united states has a law to return any new artifacts back to Peru. So what happens? One curious thing is that the huanacos (Professional archaelogists) never have gold artifacts to sell. If I want gold artifacts I have to order them and they go dig up graves and keep them. What happens is that they melt down all of the gold and silver artifacts because they are easy to sell and no worries about getting arrested or trying to export it. Even worse, pottery and other items are often ground up, destroyed and burried to destroy any evidence of where a new cache of artifacts were found. Remember, a gold bar can be used to pay off the national debt. And the united states can use that gold bar as collateral for their loan. A priceles gold mask in a museum cant do th
at. (Remember - the definition of priceless is worthless)</P>
<P>(4)CHINA - China is building a new dam. Huge traks of land is going to get flooded in 2004 and they are relocating a large number of people (I beleive millions). Right now the chinese government is giving permits to dig up archaelogical sites and expect for exceptional finds, the finders can keep all that they find and also export the material. You ever wonder why Ming dynasty artifacts have gotten so cheap and plentiful recently even though an ever increasingly rich chinese market is creating more demand? Now you know. The flood of new stuff &nbsp;will stop in 2004 when the land all gets flooded. A large amount of new knowledge is being learned about chinese history right now because the government has allowed the artifacts to have a value (Which means exporting them easily since there is no market in china - like there is a very limited market for meteorites in canada so if you cant easily export them they effectively are at least monetarily worthless). Governments should remember this when they make la
ws concerning meteorites, fossils, artifacts and diving for pirate ships. If the example of treasure diving is any indication, the state of florida and california seems to have the opinion that "If we cant have it then nobody can have it". The government of Florida and california is acting&nbsp; like an archaelogists who can only study a find for 3 weeks and then destroys everything else that he cant cart away so that nobody else can&nbsp;study it either and get some of the glory.&nbsp;</P>
<P>Remember, there are a lot of different motivations from various people and they can often be disguised as "Protecting national culture".</P>
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Received on Sat 13 Oct 2001 03:14:58 AM PDT

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