W7 Reflection Post

An archaeologist, a special kind of scientist, has a specific set of rules and obligations that they follow. Similar to †he hippocratic oath that a medical practitioner abides by, archaeologists abide by a particular code of ethics.

Right off the bat, the episode of Digger, “Bleeding Kansas,” is inaccurately portraying archaeologists in a way that is grandly misleading the viewers. The intro consists of fast paced and exciting scenes of the two ‘archeologists’ exploring the land where the “deadliest conflict in our nation’s history” took place. They are looking for the bullet that began the battle. One man says, “Just think how much that thing [the bullet] would be worth!” Archaeologists believe that putting any monetary value to an artifact encourages people to dig things up for profit. Therefore, they do not participate in that, and are not even supposed to comment on the price of things or anything of that sort. However, these men continue to put monetary value to the artifacts they find in the searches. For example, an Indian Head penny that is found, is shown on the screen with the writing “Potential Value: $3.” This is completely against the archaeological code of ethics.

The layout of the entire episode creates a view of archaeologists as being primarily self-interested. They are searching for the most valuable objects, and are racing each other to see who is able to find the ‘coolest’ thing first. This is not the way real-life archaeologists should be behaving. Archaeologists are not in this field so that they can compete with their colleagues to find the biggest or craziest artifact, but rather to uncover bits of our communal past and learn about ourselves through those things. I was very humored by the grand assumptions these ‘archaeologists’ made. Almost every time that they found an artifact, they would jump to an elaborate conclusion about where it came from, based on no other information. Actual archaeologists would not be so quick to determine the origins of artifacts, or the stories they carry with them.

Additionally, these two men are shown consistently finding artifacts at three different locations. They are working very fast paced, and there seems to be no lack of remains for them to uncover. This is far less common than is portrayed in this episode. The men are only using metal detectors to search for objects, making it seem like their only interest is in uncovering coins or bullets. They are quick to jump any time the metal detector beeps, and have little care about how they are going about the dig. In real excavations, the work is done at a much slower pace. Care is taken with every move, and the likelihood of finding so many artifacts is lessened.

One thought on “W7 Reflection Post

  1. Very well said! I honestly do not believe I could’ve said that better myself. I think I was a bit harsher because this show truly annoyed me to my core. However, this show was a direct violation to the code of ethics used by all archaeologists. They knew very little about the things in which they “discovered”. In addition to that they also kept attempting to guess and estimate origin dates without any kind of further analysis. I liked your mentioning of the way in which they used metal detectors and how they excavated. True site excavations are done with care because of the fragility of the various sites. I agree with the things stated in this post. It was worded well and organized greatly.

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