This week, we watched an episode of the show called “Diggers” on the National Geographic channel. The episode we watched called “Bleeding Kansas” showed a few men who were explored the site of the battle of Bleeding Kansas located in between Missouri and Kansas. This battle supposedly is referred to as the civil war before the civil war. These men used detectors to try and find the earliest artifacts of the battle of Bleeding Kansas.
Something that I questioned from the beginning was whether these men were actually archaeologists and whether they had permission to dig up those artifacts at those sites. It was never mentioned that they were actual archaeologists, or whether they were following the principles of ethics that we had learned in our lecture this week. They may have had permission to excavate the sites of the battle of Bleeding Kansas, however, their reasons seemed more for entertainment and fame rather than to add to the archaeological record. I feel that this may be offensive to professional archaeologists, because they work hard to uncover artifacts and perform excavations, and they are required to go through the correct protocols.
The men of the show “Diggers” definitely are contributing to the commercialization of the archaeological record. When reading the key points of this principle, this show is going against what this principle stands for word for word. This show is exploiting archaeological objects for personal enjoyment and profit. According to our lecture, archaeologists are supposed to carefully weigh the benefits of a project against the possible chance of enhancing the commercial value of archaeological objects. This clearly means that these men are not true archaeologists who make it a priority to preserve and protect the archaeological record. I understand that the show “Diggers” is meant for entertainment and enjoyment, and I honestly would not have thought anything that they were doing was unjust before taking this class, and especially before learning this week’s lecture. I am kind of shocked that archaeologists have not complained about this taking place. I think that it would be a better idea to include true professionals who work in the field in a show like this, versus ordinary men who are basically searching for treasure. I think that if that change were made, it would actually teach those who watch the show more about the artifacts and history. It would also teach people the importance of all the ethical principles of preserving the archaeological record.