W7 Reflection Post

This week we discussed ethics as they pertain to the field of archaeology. As such we were given an episode of “Diggers” to watch to discuss all of the horrific and idiotic things they did that not only shamed the field or archaeology but shamed themselves as well. Watching this show was absolutely excruciating, aside from the fact that none of these guys had any training they were just complete morons. Listening to them say “Bleeding Kansas” over and over was absolutely painful. Mini rant over, the point of this week is to discuss how this show can be seen as unethical but actual archaeologists who put in work to learn to do the things they do. I’m not even an archeologist and I was offended by that monstrosity. The biggest red flag in terms of ethics or in this case the lack thereof if the fact that everything they “found” every time it was shared with the audience it had a price. I know that this is a big one in terms of ethics because in a sense these guys are “finding” these things just to sell them. Based on what we learned about looters and their modern reincarnations, these guys were just that. They “dug” up things not with the intent to learn or teach or discover, but to earn a quick dollar. Another thing that stood out to me is the way in which they discovered things. I am in no way discrediting the use of metal detectors, but to say that those things were all discovered using them is ridiculous. Based on all we learned on how to excavate and all of the different methods none of what they did remotely resembled any of it. The manner in which they attempted to date things was wrong, no mention of radiocarbon or seriation. There was no in depth anything with these so called finds. This can be misleading to viewers simply because of how insulting it is. It takes away from the actual work that goes into the field. The show sends the message that you can just go out to random locations with historical relevance and just find stuff to sell. There is no mention of the social, historical, and anthropological benefits that the field possesses. The greed they showcased for money in the episode was the biggest unethical red flag in my opinion. If I have learned anything in this class it is that the finds that take place are never for personal gain, but to educate and enhance modern day humans and civilization by putting pieces of the past together to tell the story of the early days. One last thing that I should mention is the fact that archaeological finds are never the sole property of the person or persons who discover them. In the show it was the complete opposite where they were the sole property of the two morons who found them. All in all, this show was incredibly excruciating to watch and insulting to all who are archaeologists. I hope that those who watch can know to differentiate between what is real and was is not.

One thought on “W7 Reflection Post

  1. You used the exact word I was looking for to describe how I felt while watching this—It was “excruciating”. I also noticed how everything they had discovered had a price to it. They didn’t even wait one minute into the show to start pricing things that they had found. When we learned what kinds of tools that archaeologists used, I don’t think I remember reading or hearing about them using metal detectors. Although these men did briefly mention a little bit of background information about what they found, they didn’t talk about how these artifacts could help archaeologists or the public learn more about the past. I also hope that eventually the media starts to portray more of what archaeology is really like. You had a strong post, and I agree with everything that you said.

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