The Ethics of Archaeology

The Ethics of Archaeology : Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice

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The question of ethics and their role in archaeology has stimulated one of the discipline's liveliest debates. In this collection of essays, first published in 2006, an international team of archaeologists, anthropologists and philosophers explore the ethical issues archaeology needs to address. Marrying the skills and expertise of practitioners from different disciplines, the collection produces interesting insights into many of the ethical dilemmas facing archaeology today. Topics discussed include relations with indigenous peoples; the professional standards and responsibilities of researchers; the role of ethical codes; the notion of value in archaeology; concepts of stewardship and custodianship; the meaning and moral implications of 'heritage'; the question of who 'owns' the past or the interpretation of it; the trade in antiquities; the repatriation of skeletal material; and treatment of the dead. This important collection is essential reading for all those working in the field of archaeology, be they scholar or practitioner.
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'... a provocative, thoughtful and entirely engaging read. The key to its success is that each chapter, variously written by ten archaeologists, seven philosophers and four anthropologists ... relates its arguments to real, mostly contemporary situations and events, many familiar. This is both a stimulating read and, in its separate parts, a thinking handbook.' British Archaeology 'The Ethics of Archaeology covers a wide range of intellectual territory, ranging from philosophy to legal frameworks, from indigenous viewpoints to the practical application of ethical standards and from the role of trust in virtue ethics to the role of institutional review boards in regulating human subject research. It admirably accomplishes its stated goal 'to promote dialogue between archaeologists, anthropologists and philosophers on significant ethical issues raised by the contemporary practice of archaeology'. ... Reflecting as this does significant divisions within the discipline, this multiplicity of voices and viewpoints is to the credit of the editors of each volume.' European Journal of Archaeology '... carefully planned and assembled ... and rewarding ...' Cambridge Archaeological Journal
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Table of contents

List of contributors; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction Chris Scarre and Geoffrey Scarre; Part I. The Ownership of Cultural Objects: 2. Cultures and the ownership of archaeological finds James O. Young; 3. Who guards the guardians? Oliver Leaman; 4. Is culture a commodity? Robert Layton and Gillian Wallace; 5. Moral arguments on subsistence digging Julie Hollowell; Part II. Archaeologists and the Living: 6. Human subjects review and archaeology: a view from Indian country Jeffrey C. Bendremer and Kenneth A. Richman; 7. Trust and archaeological practice: towards a framework of virtue ethics Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and T. J. Ferguson; 8. Truthfulness and 'inclusion' in archaeology David E. Cooper; 9. Ethics and native American reburials: a philosopher's view of two decades of NAGPRA Douglas P. Lackey; 10. Stewardship gone astray? Ethics and the SAA Leo Groarke and Gary Warrick; Part III. Archaeologists and the Dead: 11. Can archaeology harm the dead? Geoffrey Scarre; 12. Archaeological ethics and the people of the past Sarah Tarlow; Part IV. The Common Heritage of Humankind?: 13. A plea for responsibility towards the common heritage of mankind Sandra M. Dingli; 14. The ethics of the World Heritage concept Atle Omland; 15. What value a unicorn's horn? A study of archaeological uniqueness and value Robin Coningham, Rachel Cooper and Mark Pollard; References; Index.
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About Chris Scarre

Chris Scarre is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham. His previous publications include Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe (ed.) (2002) and The Human Past: A Textbook of World Prehistory (ed.) (2005). Geoffrey Scarre is Reader at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Durham. He is the author of After Evil: Responses to Wrongdoing (2004) and the editor of Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust (2003).
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12 ratings
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3 17% (2)
2 33% (4)
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