|Bronze Coins from the Tang Dynasty, Brought up from the 9th Century Wreck|
In a move which shouldn’t be all that surprising, the Smithsonian has decided to postpone the exhibition of artifacts recovered from a 9th century shipwreck which sunk off the coast of present-day Indonesia. The wreck offered new insights into the trade between China and the Middle East. The exhibition was scheduled to begin next spring, but now won’t be rescheduled until 2013 at the earliest.
- Flecker, Michael. “A 9th-Century Arab or Indian Shipwreck in Indonesian Waters.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. Volume 29(2), 2000.
- Flecker, Michael. “A 9th-Century Arab or Indian Shipwreck in Indonesian Waters: Addendum.” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Volume 37(2), 2008.
The open question though is what should happen to these 60,000 recovered objects. What about the next wreck fishermen are looting? These objects present a difficult dilemma. They weren’t taken in contravention of Indonesian law, these are legally-acquired objects. Indonesia may have done a poor job of protecting the underwater site, but in a world of finite resources, it seems to me being too critical of this exhibition sets a very high, nearly impossible to meet standard for exhibitions.