W7 Reflection Post

The National Geographic show diggers was a very poor example of what archaeology really is. I could see how it would offend professionals in the archaeology field. There were many different things that give off the wrong impression of archaeology. There needs to be a level of meticulous care for the site, artifacts and history. The show did not really have any care for any of those things.

The show’s design seemed to be based on poor archaeological ethics. One of the biggest aspects that stood out to me was the commercialization of the artifacts they were finding. By listing a price point for every single object, it really takes away from the point in finding them. Who it going to dig up these small pieces of history to try and sell them for five dollars? That just seemed a little ridiculous.

As mentioned before, there needs to be care to preserve the artifacts and site. They were mostly just haphazardly digging with their hands. This would be very frowned upon. They also did not really seem to be documenting any of their searching to preserve the historical record of the site and location of the artifacts. The part about digging around the tulips seemed to be a jab aimed right at the people who take archaeology seriously. I could not tell what exactly they were going for with that, but I do not think it was meant to be nice.

There were a few times throughout the course where I might have been a little skeptical at a conclusion an archaeologist drew from a limited amount of evidence; but, this was far more than anything I had ever seen. I am sure the bullets that they found were just some random bullets possibly not even from the time period. Definitely not the first bullets fired in the civil war. That just seemed a little reckless to even insinuate, let alone declare.

I think this show would encourage people to partake in unethical archaeological behavior. It promotes the fantasy of it just like many of the other popular media that we discussed in the beginning of this class, but to a more extreme level. I think someone would watch this show and want to go out to find potentially invaluable artifacts to keep for themselves or try to sell them. That is the opposite of what an archaeologist should do.

3 thoughts on “W7 Reflection Post

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you on all your points. I really like your sentence “that just seemed a little reckless to even insinuate, let alone declare” when talking about the guys’ quest/find of the first bullet shot in the civil war. This incident specifically, but also their entire method in general, belittles the hard work that archaeologists do by presenting it as a careless endeavor that any person can grab a metal detector and do. They also present it as more of a monetary endeavor than a historical/scientific endeavor and that is additionally damaging to the image of archaeology.

  2. I agree that the two “archaeologists” in “Diggers” dig haphazardly with their hands and shovels. This was upsetting to see because it is a total misrepresentation of the process real archaeologists go through when excavating an area. They follow a code of ethics that instructs them to respect the material they are working with. This includes carefully and cautiously removing artifacts from an area; if they even are able to remove them. I did not pick up on this when I was viewing the episode, but I definitely agree with your point that they never seemed to take any documentation of the work they were doing. Archaeologists are meticulous note takers. They record everything they are doing, and every detail about any artifact they find. This is a gross misrepresentation of the actual fieldwork that archaeologists are doing.
    Thanks!

  3. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was bothered by the claims that they had found the “first bullets fired in the Civil War”. Given the location context, I have little doubt that those bullets they found were among the first, but the odds of finding the first, second, third, etc. bullets are very slim if a full battle was fought there. They could be… but I think the odds are quite poor that they are.

    While I don’t think the tulips comment was intended to be a jab or insult to serious archaeologists, the group still was unnecessarily reckless with their digging. Artifacts could have been damaged or destroyed in their frantic rush to unearth them. All I can say is that it’s a good thing they’re hunting metal objects– anything less durable wouldn’t survive their search!

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