W7 Reflection Post

As I was watching this video, I couldn’t help but feel appalled at this show. If I had watched this show seven weeks ago, I would have not realized that these men are completely missing the point of archaeology. Archaeology is meant to uncover material remains in order to have a better understanding of the past. These men were mostly digging for artifacts in order to gain fame and fortune.

Before I watched this video, I thought I wouldn’t find any behavior that violates any of the principles that we learned about this week until at least 5 minutes through the video; however, I was mistaken. Within the first minute I had already found an example. One of the men had found an 1887 Indian Head penny. On the corner of the video, they wrote down what they had found, and also its potential value as 3 dollars. Then they went on to say that they were on the hunt for something even older. What surprised me the most about this part was how they had started off listing its potential value. Also, they seemed more interested in the fact that they found the coin and less interested in talking about what that coin meant at the time and the history behind it.

Another example was when one of the guys mentioned something along the lines of “We are trying to solve a mystery that no one else has been able to crack”. This is okay, but they are missing the point. The point of finding these artifacts is to share the information with others so that we can better understand the past.

Principle No. 3 talks about how commercialization can destruct the archaeological record because now, the information that is needed to understand the archaeological record is missing. Archaeologists may find that the fact that these men seem to be pricing these artifacts is unethical because of this principle. Even just pricing these objects without the intent to sell them can be promoting unethical behavior even if they are not exactly engaging in these unethical activities.

In addition, Principle No. 1 states “as they investigate and interpret the record, they should use the specialized knowledge they gain to promote public understanding and support for its long-term preservation”. The “Diggers” did not seem to care about long term preservation at all. This is the kind of media that misinforms the public about archaeology and what archaeologists do. The media plays a strong role in the public perception of archaeology, so I see why other archaeologists may be upset about this TV show.

3 thoughts on “W7 Reflection Post

  1. I definitely agreed with exactly what you were saying when I was watching the video. I quickly became incredibly annoyed with both the hosts and the way in which the show was filmed. I was also surprised, like you, how quickly they illustrated unethical behavior! I could not believe how caught up they were with the monetary value of basically irreplaceable items from decades ago. It was also clear there was no documentation of any kind for the archeological record or for preservation, so if something was damaged or lost, there would be no way to ever know the history behind it. Great post!

  2. I agree with you on all points, this whole entire show and probably the entire series is a disgrace to anthropology and paints a negative and very lazy picture of it. The ethics of the show’s hosts are generally what I expected; they are not true archaeologists and demonstrates they are only looking for profit and generally do not care about the field. It is shows like this that showcase that money has power and will cheapen a great field such as archaeology for a quick buck. They should be condemned and criticized for the inaccuracy of the show because people without knowledge of true archaeology would end up believing them.

  3. Rhea, I also thought the fact that they put the possible value of the artifact most off-putting. The point you made about them being more concentrated on the hunt and the value rather than the meaning of the artifact is completely true. I hadn’t made a mental note of that, but after you mentioned it, it’s pathetic that these men think they are doing something beneficial to society. They seem to have no interest in the history of the artifact only that it was located and how much they can sell it for. I totally agree when you said they were misinforming the public about what honest archaeology is. Archaeologists are trained experts, these men are glorified looters.

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