Archaeology and Science Required Reading Essay

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Archaeology and Science

Required Reading:

The Idea of Indigenous Knowledge. Horsthemke Indigenous Knowledge and Archaeological Science. Green, Green, and Neves

Can the Sciences Help Us to Make Wise Ethical Judgments? Kurtz

What is Archaeology Today? Pyburn & Joyce

Do you think Peter Matthews bears any responsibility for what happened to him? How might he have avoided the unpleasant experience he had in Chiapas?

I do not think he bears any responsibility for what happened to him because he did not violate any professional or academic ethics while doing his work. However, he could have learnt the impact of the local socio-economic problems that fostered crime and made local councils ineffective. He could have learnt that the criminal gangs were capable of exploiting the social instability.

Is it ethical to restrict intellectual freedom?

It is unethical to restrict intellectual freedom because once some restrictions are applied, semantics could be then used to further restrict intellectual freedom. Furthermore, intellectual freedom encourages innovation and creativity.

3. What is the difference between cultural relativism and moral relativism?

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Cultural relativism suggests that archeologists and scholars need to understand and evaluate practices of other cultures within the context of their specific histories. Moral relativism assumes that moral judgments are impossible without locating each practice within the context of its culture. Cultural relativists can have moral judgments but for the sake of understanding cultural practices properly, they evaluate them in terms relative to those specific cultures.

4. Are all stories about the past equally good?

TOPIC: Essay on Archaeology and Science Required Reading: The Idea Assignment

Not necessarily because some stories about the past have greater significance than others. But the concept of the "good" here should be understood in relative terms, as we cannot subject modern-day understandings of good or bad to the past.

5. Why do you think the SAA Code puts "stewardship" first?

The SAA Code states that archaeological collections, sites, and materials are irreplaceable. Therefore, it puts stewardship first because it is emphasized that it is the responsibility of archeologists to preserve archaeological record by promoting stewardship.

6. Why did I ask you to pass the human subjects test?

Did not find any answers in the readings.


Required Reading:

Ethics and Archaeology: The Attempt at Catalhoyuk. Hodder Can you hear me back? Holtorf

Building a Bridge to Cross a Thousand Years. Lippert Producing knowledge for multiple stakeholders. Pyburn & Joyce

Ethics in Action [excerpt]. Colewell-Chanthaphonh, Hollowell, McGill

Discussion questions:

1. Make a list of as many groups of stakeholders in archaeological resources as you can.

Archaeologists (scholars, students, volunteers), the public, local communities, universities, foundations, cultural centers, preservation centers, museums, archives, governments, civil society, artists

2. What can archaeologists do to address concerns of Indigenous People?

Archaeologists need to realize that currently there are unequal power relations in place and therefore adopt democratic principles in forming ethical and moral standards in archeological research. Archeologists also should try to view the archeological record from the perspective of indigenous people to understand its meaning within the context of indigenous culture.

3. Do Indigenous People have special rights concerning archaeological sites and artifacts?

Yes, they have the right to participate in the excavations and share their concerns as well as knowledge. They are important stakeholders.

4. What rights do archaeologists have to do their work?

Archaeologists' rights are subject to laws and regulations of individual countries. Archaeologists need to work within the confines of laws and standards set by the main stakeholders (respecting the rights of all). For example, in the United States, an archeologist has proprietary rights to a site on the condition that he/she completes a complete report within ten years after the completion of a field work.

5. Are archaeologists stakeholders?

Yes. Stakeholders in archeology are those who have interest in archeological research. Archeologists are one of the main interested groups. Therefore, they are stakeholders.


Required Reading:

In the Spirit of the Code. Smith & Burke

Stewardship Gone Astray. Groarke & Warrick

Our Collective Responsibility. Zimmerman Ethnography & Historic Preservation. Holyoak Discussion questions:

1. What are some conflicting definitions of Stewardship?

Because the SAA definition of stewardship is criticized for vagueness, confusing ethical and political concerns, inconsistency, and not properly recognizing those aspects of ethics that transcend stewardship, scholars proposed other definitions. One definition suggests that archaeologists should respect all interested and affected parties and assume that the goals of archaeological research may be superseded by these obligations. Others objected to the use of the word "should" in the definition, as it implies moral obligation.

2. What does it mean to "reconstruct a building"?

It refers to reconstructing the history of a building by observing the existing building. Archaeologists, for instance, "reconstruct a building" by identifying and analyzing the building materials, techniques, the step-by-step process, gaps, etc.

3. Should every archaeological site be saved? Should all preserved sites be preserved according to a particular set of "preservation criteria"?

Unless saving an archaeological site damages local communities, efforts should be made to preserve all archaeological sites. There may, however, always be exceptions depending on various circumstances. Sites should be preserved according to a "preservation criteria" established in a democratic form, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders.

4. What artifacts should always be displayed: What artifacts should never be displayed?

Artifacts that do not hurt any group's sensibilities and are also important in providing historical and cultural information should always be displayed. Plundered artifacts and the ones that violate ethics of preservation and displaying should not be displayed.


Required Reading:

Human Skeletal Remains; preservation or Reburial. Ubelaker Federal Repatriaton legislation. Ousley, Billeck & Hollinger

NAGPRA is Forever, Rose, Green & Green

NAGPRA Before & After. Weiss Review. Weaver Native Americans and the Practice of Archaeology. Ferguson Ancient DNA in Anthropology. Kaestle [pp 106-109]

Discussion questions:

1. Why are some collections of human bone more scientifically important than others?

Depending on the place and the time of burial and various other factors that help scientists study the human remnants, some bones can tell more about specific diseases of those people at the time they lived. Reconstruction of history makes some bones more scientifically important than others.

2. When human remains are buried, what may be lost to science?

It prevents scientists from studying replicability or the development of new techniques. This will also make the works of future scientists harder.

3. What would you say to the granddaughter of the person whose bones you want to study?

I would first show understanding and the sensibility needed to persuade the granddaughter that the study is not intended for the benefit of "science" only. I would tell her that proper ethical code respecting indigenous sentiments would be followed and that the study may help reconstruct the history of her people and will contribute to the preservation of her culture.

4. If there is only one known skeletal example of a human from a particular time period, is that example more important to science or less?

It is more important for two reasons. It is irreplaceable and it is the only one of its kind.

Cultural Resource Management

Required Reading:

Managing Archaeological Resources in the Modern World. Pyburn & Joyce

Clients, Contracts, & Profits. Raab, Klinger, Schiffer, Goodyear

Inadvertent Vandalism. Sullivam, Uphus, Roos, Mink

Making a Differende.Wimberly

Helping Grassroots. Neal & Sanchez

Discussion questions:

1. Pyburn & Joyce argue that archaeology, including cultural resource management must be a "science." Why do some archaeologists disagree?

Because the principles and other ethical and professional considerations that drive archeology are different from those that drive sciences. For example, one measure of scientific research is to see if an experiment can be repeated. But in archaeology, no two sites or artifacts are exactly the same.

2. Can a profit motive be reconciled with preservation?

Basically no. When a profit is involved, it corrupts the basic professional standards of preservation. For example, the involvement of profit weakens such contracts in archaeological work as archaeological criteria of research significance, publication of data, and peer review of projects and data.

3. How should site significance be determined?

The following questions should be asked: does this site have any meaning to local communities? Does this site represent a cultural heritage? Does the study of this site can help us learn about history or the culture of people who lived here?

Professional Conduct

Required Reading:

How to Pick an Archaeological Field School. Pyburn & Joyce

Golden Marshalltown.Flannery

Teaching Archaeology in the 21st Century.Davis

Discussion questions:

1. What should you look for in a field school?

Whether the school is an accredited institution and whether the professional standards and ethics of archaeological research are followed. Whether real world problem solving scenarios could be practiced there.

2. What things must every archaeologist be trained to do?

They need to be trained in archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and learn to apply methods and theory into practice. They also need to understand the code of ethics.

3. Should archaeology be separate from anthropology?

Yes, they need to be separate because archaeology stresses greater emphasis on preservation and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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