Archaeology and Ethics Essay

1373 Words Dec 25th, 2013 6 Pages
Michelle Heatherly
Archaeology and Ethics
11/15/12
Student Id: 5920 mheathe3@utk.edu Anth 120- 004

There are many similarities in the ethical statements/codes of the SAA, SHA, AIA, and RPA. The ones that pertain to this case are as follows: it is the responsibility of archaeologists to work for the long-term conservation and protection of the archaeological record (SAA 1, AIA 1, RPA 1.1-e). The buying and selling of objects out of archaeological context is contributing to the destruction of the archaeological record around the world, and these items should not be traded, sold, bought, or bartered as commercial goods (SAA 3, SHA 6, AIA 2, RPA 1.2-e). Within reasonable time, the knowledge archaeologists gain
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The employees also wanted to sell the pots for monetary gain. The text quotes “The two men now want to return to collect the pots before someone else finds them, and they openly admit to the archaeologists that they intend to sell them.” This is unethical and it is noted in almost every organization’s ethical statement in some way or another. It is understood by archaeologists that when objects are used as commodities which are exploited for personal enjoyment or profit, it results in the destruction of archaeological sites and of contextual information that is essential to understanding the archaeological record (SAA 3.) Not only does this behavior possibly damage the site (because it is done without the aid of an experienced team) but it also inhibits the spread of information and knowledge for future generations about a past culture.
These local employees took a very long time before informing anyone that they had artifacts in their possession. The text states “A year ago, while hunting, they had found four very beautiful unbroken pots in a small underground cave, in an area of the nearby river accessible only during a dry spell.” This means that for one year, the possible information that could have been gained from these artifacts was withheld from scientists that could have studied them, as well as the general public. Two of the societies mentioned in the pre-reading have in their ethical

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