'National Antiquities' and the Law

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6 Citations (Scopus)


National museums, housing â??national antiquities', were a nineteenth-century cultural phenomenon throughout Europe. In the United Kingdom, they afforded the Treasury a means of preserving relics of antiquity claimed as treasure trove. While satisfying the desire of the scientific community for the preservation of archaeological finds, and national sentiment in Scotland and Ireland, Treasury practice undermined the British Museum's eponymous mission. This paper traces the development and legal consequences of the Treasury policy of national allocation of treasure trove, including the discussion in the Museums Committee of 1898â??99 of the â??nationality' of objects and artefacts, and considers the potential wider significance of â??national antiquity' in the context of changing constitutional arrangements in the United Kingdom in the 1920s, and in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-92
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Legal History
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


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