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95-year-old ‘Indiana Joan’ target of social media outrage

95-year-old ‘Indiana Joan’ target of social media outrage

Globe-trotting Joan Howard now the target of cultural justice outrage for her collection of antiquities, which she dug-up in the 1960’s.

A 95-year old Australian woman who participated in archeological digs during the 1960’s is under fire for keeping the objects she physically collected during these excavations.

Her travails started when she showed some of her treasures during an interview for a feature news piece.

Joan Howard of Perth, Australia, shared some of the highlights of her collection with The West Australian, a local news outlet, which reported the collection could be valued at AUD $1 million. Now, some archaeologists and officials are asking the Australian government to investigate how Howard obtained the rare objects and are demanding that she return any that were taken from their countries of origin illegally.

Monica Hanna, an archeologist and founder of Egypt’s Heritage Taskforce, started an online petition calling for an investigation by the Australian government into the origins of Howard’s artifacts. So far, the petition has received nearly 500 signatures. Hanna also wrote an open letter to Neil Hawkins, the Australian ambassador to Egypt, on Facebook.

Howard was the wife of a UN diplomat, and she would accompany him on archaeology digs while he was stationed in various countries. The West Australia feature piece is entitled Indiana Joan – Meet WA’s real life tomb raider, 95-year-old Joan Howard. The piece pays tribute to the blockbuster movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It was the late 1960s, a turbulent time in the Middle East, but the thrill of discovery drove Mrs Howard deeper into the grave.

Sluggish scorpions scattered and clacked amid the bones of the ancient dead as she scooped artefacts and the detritus of ages into a bucket.

Only when it was full did she inch backwards. Ten metres above her, at the top of a vertical shaft hewn out of the desert bedrock, a colleague began to winch her swaying bucket of artefacts to the surface

…Mrs Howard, 95, is WA’s real-life tomb raider. There is a mischievous twinkle in the great-grandmother’s eye as she reveals why she has humbly kept quiet about her derring-do.

“You don’t go round saying ‘I’ve been in a tomb’,” Mrs Howard said.

It is important to note that the regulations regarding the collection and trading of antiquities was really taking off at the time that Howard was moving on to the next phase of her life.

In 1970, the Unesco convention on illicit trade of cultural property made it illegal to remove such items from their country of origin.

The Australian Dept. of Foreign affairs and Trade said it was investigating whether any of the items had been illegally exported, and would need to be returned, the Australian Associated Press reported.

The fact that Howard was collecting during another era with different cultural expectations seems to have completely escaped the social justice crowd. The elderly adventuress is being pilloried by the “morally superior set”.

Some outraged busybodies took exception to the fun take on Howard’s life, as presented in the fluff piece.

Though this commentor had more of a sense of historic perspective.

It is too bad that an elderly woman who merely wanted to share her love of history and adventure as an inspiration to others has become the latest social justice villain. I hope the Australian officials are fair and just in their assessment of her collection.

At 95 years old, Howard shouldn’t lose her treasures because the rules that existed when collected them are different now. She should also not be unfairly punished because she is the current target of a cultural justice crusade.

The good news is that at her age, Howard isn’t likely to engage in social media, so hopefully she remains oblivious to the millennial blather.


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The old gal should set up a twitter account and just serially troll the daylights out of them. Every day she could post another story, another picture. It would be a mass triggering. Maybe she could cause their blood pressure to rise so precipitously that some of the twats would just fall over dead of a stroke.

I doubt she will be losing sleep over Twitter fuckwittaratti being little entitled bitches.

Finders keepers, losers weepers, the law is settled.

    moonmoth in reply to gbear. | November 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    No, the settled law in many countries is that unauthorized removal of artifacts from archaeological sites is strictly prohibited.

      The question, though, is not what the settled law is now in “many countries” but what it was in 1969 and how it applied to this woman. Apparently, and I’m no expert on this sort of thing, the laws weren’t changed to protect historical artifacts until 1970.

      Personally, I find this whole thing disturbing. Who would loot someone’s tomb? It just seems ten kinds of wrong. But then, why attack some old woman who didn’t know any better and who lived under different laws in different times? Who’s to say I’d still be horrified at the thought of taking from tombs if it were still 1969? Maybe at that time, in that place, it was A-okay? It’s so hard to evaluate history without smashing our own current mores, values, beliefs, and laws right into a time in which they did not exist.

        DINORightMarie in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | November 26, 2017 at 6:59 pm

        Personally, I find this whole thing disturbing. Who would loot someone’s tomb? It just seems ten kinds of wrong.

        First of all – how do you think these things GOT into museums in the first place?! Archaeologists dug them up – and are in a sense historic tomb “looters.” since they methodically dig and FIND the tombs (and other sites), then remove them, so any priceless relics and antiquities discovered can be cleaned, restored, and preserved. Just like dinosaur bones – another type of “tomb” that archaeologists and paleontologists will excavate or “loot” if you will, if they remove any bones or other remains found.

        And, frankly, what do you think happened to the Great Pyramids, and why finding the tomb of King Tut was so unusual, and amazing?! Who do you think King Tutankhamun was, is? What if those archaeologists hadn’t discovered and removed the treasures they found, removing them to England at the time, which was not considered a form of “looting” then; on the contrary, they preserved the priceless treasures without selling them or melting them down for the gold, jewels, etc. as true looters would have done. How would we even know about these treasures today if they had not removed them when they were discovered?! WWII would most likely have seen them stolen and sold on the black market, either by the Italian fascists under Mussolini or Hitler’s armies, or perhaps just stolen during the chaos of war, or destroyed in a bombing raid.

        And, finally – have you ever heard of the Rosetta Stone?! Well, it was “looted” and then used as a building stone in a structure that Napoleon Bonaparte and his army found – and “looted,” sending it back to France…that was a major turning point in Egyptology as Jean-Francios Champollion was able to use to BREAK THE CODE OF EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS because of that stone’s discovery and importance. By the way, it resides in the British Museum today, on exhibit for all to see.

        History is a great thing. Please. Read about it.

          DinoRightMarie, wow, I never knew history was such an interesting topic that has influence on current and future courses of action. If it weren’t for your enlightening comment and final pointed statement (“History is a great thing. Please. Read about it.”) I might be walking around wondering why every time I chew my gum my feet stop working.

          But since you are being so obliging, please teach me about the difference between recovering artifacts for scientific study and historical purposes and for display in museums where everyone can learn from them and secretly ferrying them off to your home? Is it also okay to dig up any old corpse from any old burial site and take off with (say) the corpse’s wedding ring? What if someone dug up a corpse buried last week and handed over the loot for a museum and the bones for scientific study? I’m sure there must be a difference, but I can’t tell what it might be (probably because I’m busy drooling and picking fleas out of my family’s fur).

How reprehensible, to misrepresent the reaction to her behavior as “cultural justice outrage”. Did you not read the following?

“Now, some archaeologists and officials are asking the Australian government to investigate how Howard obtained the rare objects and are demanding that she return any that were taken from their countries of origin illegally.”

She should have known that her conduct was at least potentially criminal.

    Sorry…not buying into the hysteria. #NoSale.

    The rules regarding antiquity trading and collecting have evolved…so if she did this kind of thing today then we could talk about “criminality”.

    I love Egyptology, and love to see artifacts in museum. However, I personally don’t buy into “criminality” in this instance.

    But, please, cling bitterly to your moral outrage at a nonagenarian if you wish.

      I’m so glad you know about this stuff, Leslie! Frankly, even existing law would be hard to prosecute since we’re talking about something that happened in the 1960’s, more than half a century ago. The statute of limitations must have worn out on that by now (and can’t be applied retroactively in any case).

    Gremlin1974 in reply to moonmoth. | November 26, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    So far it has been explained to you twice, but I will try again.


    Now do you understand or are you just that special kind of stupid?

95 year old woman facing probe, can’t Harvey Wienstien leave any woman alone?

The real problem is that returning objects to their country of origin is worse than keeping them. In most of these countries corruption is rampant and items returned soon reappear in Western markets, sold by poorly paid or unpaid individuals in the origin countries.
Naturally those involved make a big fuss about taking away artifacts, mainly because they can profit from their return.
What is worse is that most of these countries harbor iconoclasts who destroy relics of former times whenever they find them. Collectors and museums abroad on the other hand treasure them and take pains to preserve them.
For example, when Mao’s folks took over China they despised old things and destroyed on the order of 90 percent of ancient objects that were known to exist in that country. Some were buried or hidden and some were undiscovered, but most that are prized today were those brought to the West in the 19th and 20th centuries. The big market for them today is in China.
Even worse, the quest by governments for buried relics leads contractors who discover them to destroy them rather than revealing their existence which would lead to disruption and termination of their contracts.

“Social justice warriors” have little to do with being social, or promoting justice: they are merely the street gang of a fascists controlling them. They serve at the pleasure of malignant leftist control freaks.

A real “social justice warrior” would have considered the world when Joan Howard was digging artifacts, and they would have appreciated the fact that if Joan Howard did not collect the artifacts she did, they’d be lost forever – to the likes of the taliban or isis, who seek to destroy them.

“Social justice warriors:” the hitler youth of the democrat party. Also “morons.” Treat them as such.

“In 1970, the Unesco convention on illicit trade of cultural property made it illegal to remove such items from their country of origin.”

Maybe this is the way Europe can get rid of its new “cultural property” by adhering to the UN convention and returning these precious items back to their country of origin.

Western Archeology, Capitalism & private ownership have saved more historical artifacts than all the “natives” combined.

So they’re coming for her stuff. Heh- I didn’t think Bernie would be able to take the white house until 2020.

Social justice warriors concerned with history? Gasp…. What next? Acknowledging the Exodus and slavery of non-blacks?