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April 26, 2011

Scholars Protest Planned Smithsonian Exhibit

A forthcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution has stirred controversy among scholars who contend that the show violates ethical standards, reports The New York Times.

A group of archaeologists and anthropologists from the National Academy of Sciences wrote a letter to the Smithsonian's top official, G. Wayne Clough, urging him to cancel an exhibit planned for next spring on Chinese artifacts salvaged from a shipwreck because the treasures were mined by a commercial company rather than scholars. The group says that the practice is tantamount to looting.

Joining the protest are the Council of American Maritime Museums, the International Committee for Underwater Cultural Heritage, and the Society for American Archaeology.

The Smithsonian will probably make its final decision about whether to proceed with the exhibit in late May, according to a spokeswoman.