Researching Archaeological and Heritage Artefacts: Legal and Ethical Dimensions

ANNUAL MOVE SEMINAR 2020: 10 September on Zoom

Photo: Combirom2 / CC BY-SA (

A substantial part of the materials that serve as sources of historical and humanities research are cultural artefacts—manuscripts, artworks, and archaeological objects—that have been moved from their original find sites. These artefacts may have been removed from archaeological sites, or from the communities that once produced and owned them. Many of them have crossed national borders, changed owners several times, served as commodities on the legal or illegal antiquities markets and ended up in collections—private or public—far away from their geographical and cultural place of origin. Where do our sources come from? How did they reach their current owners? Why does attention to provenance matter? How and why does the movement of archaeological and cultural heritage artefacts challenge researchers?

The 2020 annual MOVE seminar will explore a spectrum of challenges related to researching relocated cultural artefacts. The seminar will map the international conventions and national laws that control export and import of archaeological and heritage artefacts and the professional policies that regulate research on them. Based on presentations by invited speakers and building on the research experience of MOVE-members, the seminar will engage the ethical and legal challenges of researching objects that move.

The seminar is organized by MOVE Research Group at MF CASR. It is funded by MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society and by the RCN-project The Lying Pen of Scribes: Manuscript Forgeries, Digital Imaging, and Critical Provenance Research.

The first part of the seminar (8:50-13:10) is an internal event for members of the MOVE research group, researchers associated with the Lying Pen of Scribes-project, and specially invited guests (password has been sent you on email). Join the ZOOM event here:

The second part of the seminar (18:00-19:00) is a public online lecture, given by Rick Bonnie, archaeologist at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The lecture is free to join and open to all who want to attend. Sign up for the webinar here:

Full program:


8:50 Join the digital event, welcome and virtual coffee

9:00 Introduction

Liv Ingeborg Lied (MF) and Christian Bull (MF)

9:10 Keynote 1

Adam Lindhagen (Riksantikvaren/The Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway). “Illicit Trade in Cultural Artefacts—A Legal–Archaeological Perspective” (30 min)

Discussion (20 min)

10:00 Coffee break

10:30 Manuscripts–panel

Chair: Hugo Lundhaug (University of Oslo)

Årstein Justnes (University of Agder) “More Profound than Goat Lost and Found: The Provenance of the Dead Sea Scrolls” (10 min)

Brent Nongbri (MF) “Working with the Bodmer Collection: Results and Reservations” (10 min)

Liv Ingeborg Lied (MF) “Textual Scholarship, Ethics, and Someone Else’s Manuscripts” (10 min)

Discussion (30 min)

11:30 Lunch break

12:30 Archaeology–panel

Chair: Stefka Eriksen (Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning)

Nils H. Korsvoll (University of Agder) “Philology Today: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants or on Giant Feet of Clay?” (10 min)

Mary Jane Cuyler (MF and DeCHriM) “A Truly Unlucky Excavation: Studying and Publishing Ceramics from Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome” (10 min)

Discussion (20 min)

13:10 End of the seminar


18:00 Keynote 2

Chairs: Årstein Justnes and Liv Ingeborg Lied

Rick Bonnie (University of Helsinki) “Capacity Building Processes and Policy Implementation on Unprovenanced Cultural Objects in Finland” (30 min)

Discussion (20 min)

18:50 End of the event

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