W7 Reflection Post

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.

2 thoughts on “W7 Reflection Post

  1. I agree with you that a show like this should use real archaeologists in place of these two goofballs who are more interested in the treasure hunting and personal gain that may come with finding artifacts. I mean, I get why they may be a good sell for a tv show. As we saw in the first week responses, a lot of people in our class still associated archaeology with the likes of Indiana Jones, so we can expect that the general public likely shares the same view. Media can often be seen as a reflection of the public’s likes and interests, so it makes sense why these guys were given a show like this. That being said, it is important, as you pointed out, for archaeologists to stand up and let people know why stuff like this is harmful. Just because something is legal does not mean its ethical. It’s important for trained archaeologists to inform the public not only why doing stuff like this has a negative impact, but also how they can help/do it in a more beneficial way.

  2. The only thing that makes me happy about this week, is somehow I missed out on this show being on TV and because that means it was not popular. That makes me hope that ordinary people are well as professional archaeologists were so against this show that it was cancelled. However, there would still be people that would watch this and think it was ok that archaeologist act this way, which is wrong but unless they study and find out what an archaeologist is this will stick. It makes a joke out of the entire archaeological community, having the show off the air does help stop this from spreading.

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