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Archaeological Ethics

Archaeological Ethics. Patty Jo Watson. Two big issues we haven’t covered in this concept course: The Status of Archaeological Practice today, and this includes Culture Resource Management Professional Ethics Both of these involve ethical concerns. Mark Lynott.

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Archaeological Ethics

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  1. Archaeological Ethics Patty Jo Watson Two big issues we haven’t covered in this concept course: The Status of Archaeological Practice today, and this includes Culture Resource Management Professional Ethics Both of these involve ethical concerns Mark Lynott

  2. Vital disciplines are characterized by discussion, conflict, debate and change changes in direction , whether or not those represent “paradigm shifts”. • By this definition, archaeology is a vital discipline. • Through out the semester we have discussed and written about major changes in orientation from speculation, to culture history, to new archaeology/processulism and finally to post-processualism. • Simultaneous with these shifts are major developments that we need to, at least, briefly consider: • Culture Resource Management (CRM) More money and more excavation, for instance occur within CRM than in the academy • Ethics Both involve ethical practices… so let’s start there/

  3. Ethics • Ethics defined as moral philosophy, that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. • Ethical concerns come into play whenever there is a controversial issue over which there are different conceptions of different ways of behaving One type of ethics is known is “applied ethics” deals with specific moral issues: homosexuality, or the environment, or professional standard of behavior, e.g., business ethics or ( OF COUSE) archaeological ethics

  4. APPLIED ETHICS CONTINUED: • A close relationship between applied ethics and social policy. Social policy may be legislated, e.g., drive-by shooting • Even if legislated, there well may be ethical (controversial) concerns that come up around the social policy. In other cases, there may be no mandated policy, e.g., gun control • Example: Artifacts and museums So, in some cases, legislated social policy overlaps with ethical issues; in other cases it does not. This makes the topic confusing and difficult

  5. Two important points regarding CRM and Ethics in Archaeology • Ethical behavior by archaeologists is not legislated. In other words, there is no formal policy that can carry punitive consequences. • The Society for Professional Archaeologists ( SOPA) has professional guidelines for conducting and analysis of archaeological research. Archaeologists are not required to join SOPA • There also is a grievance component, BUT IT’S NOT STRONG. -Registry of Professional Archaeology ( 1998) Archaeological resources on PUBLIC land, by contrast, are protected by Federal and State Law. In other words, social policy exists for the protection and conservation of archaeological resources. BUT ONLY GUIDELINES ARE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PRACTICE

  6. Over view of CRM Legislation • Origin:began in the 1960s when archaeological resources on public land became like an “endangered species” Federal and state legislation put in place to control, identify and protect archaeological resources: • National Laws: • 1906: antiguities legislation--- establ national parks… don’t loot but no way to control looting • 1966: Historic Preservation Act • 1969: Environmental Policy Act • 1974: Archaeology and Historic Preservation Act • 1979: Archaeological Resources Protection Act • 1990: Native American Graves and Repatriation ACt

  7. NAGPRA: • Requires repositories (museums) to identify, and consult with relevant tribes regarding human skeletons and funerary objects. • If genetic affinity can be established, funerary objects and skeletons are to be returned to descendent communities • Genetic affinity is the sticking point of the legislation….

  8. Consequences of social policy governing archaeology on public land • Sets of established procedures in place that professional archaeologists must follow before they can “do” archaeology on public land • A strong conservation and protection ethic with managers of archaeological resources on public land. • A political climate decidedly against excavation on public lands 3. Archaeologists are working in the private sector--environmental companies, consulting firms. Also archaeologists regularly employed by federal agencies. In other words, archaeology is no longer an exclusively academic discipline. • Archaeologists working in CRM are responsible for the protection and conservation of the archaeological record.. this is an ethical issue

  9. ETHICAL BEHAVIOR • A major impetus for the archaeological ethics derives from post-processualism. Why should this be the case? • Other factors that result in codes of ethics • The image of archaeology internationally • Federal legislation requires that archaeologists have professional training and protection of archaeological resources • Unethical behavior on the part of archaeologists

  10. SAA Ethical Principles • The SAA task force on Ethics in archaeology established 7 principles of ethical behavior. These are know as the “ceiling of ethical behavior”: • Stewardship: conservation and protection • Accountability: active consultation with affected groups • Commercialization: avoid it • Public education and outreach • Intellectual property… archaeologists don’t “own” what they collect or record • Public reporting and publication • Records and preservation… paper archives are part of the archaeological record

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