The objectives of this policy are twofold:
- To try to ensure that the Unit does not wittingly, or otherwise,
encourage the trade in antiquities which have uncertain provenance and
which might, therefore, have been looted from archaeological sites, or
stolen from communities unable to protect their heritage.
- To try to ensure that radiocarbon dates measured by the Unit are not
used misleadingly to 'demonstrate' the authenticity of an object when it
is sold. This is to be avoided because radiocarbon dates on the material
from which an art object has been created can only ever prove that an
object is not authentic.
We make two conditions on the acceptance, by the Unit, of antiquities for
dating which is not for the purposes of academic research (where we
expect similar safeguards to already be in place):
In the case of material which is submitted to the laboratory for
radiocarbon isotope measurement by other radiocarbon labs, the Unit
will make every effort to ensure that the material submitted has been subject
to the same level of scrutiny on provenance.
- Details of the ownership of the object since 1970 (the date of the
UNESCO convention on the trade in antiquities) will be
provided to the laboratory along with copies of supporting
documentation if requested.
- The submitter will agree not to use the radiocarbon date directly in
the description or advertising of the object should it, at some stage, be