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FelicityKim

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In this text, what does the underlined "them" refer to? My English teacher (who is not a native English speaker) said that it refers to "many antiquities" but my first thought was "these countries" or "Mediterranean countries." I told my teacher my opinion but she didn't accept it and marked me wrong! I don't understand why the answer is "many antiquities." Please tell me, who is right?


In Mediterranean countries, ancient shipwrecks have long been treated like any other archaeological site. Regardless of its origin, an ancient shipwreck belongs to the nation in whose territorial waters it lies. To disturb it in any way, a foreign or national archaeologist must have the proper credentials to obtain official permission from the archaeological service of the government of that nation. Because in the last century so many antiquities were taken from these countries to foreign museums and collections, this approach developed as a safeguard for them. Thus, there has been less treasure hunting in the Mediterranean than in many places, although illegal stealing of antiquities does occur under the Mediterranean as on its surrounding lands.

Thank you,
Felicity
 
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Rover_KE

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Only 'antiquities' need to be safeguarded; countries and foreign museums don't.
 

Raymott

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Oh okay. Then could you please tell me why that is the answer?
I can understand how you might think that it refers to countries. You could develop a safeguard for Greece and Italy to protect their antiquities. But it's still the antiquities that need safeguarding, not the countries. The context explains the meaning.
 

FelicityKim

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