W7 Reflection Post

I can totally understand why some archaeologists might think that the show “Diggers” and the methods used are archaeologically unethical.  On top of that, I can also see why they might think that the show itself was completely unethical based off the purpose and reasoning why these guys are digging things up around the country.


Although the show was pretty interesting, it is clear that it does not even come close to depicting what real archaeology is like.  One of the major things they do that violates normal archaeological records is that they put a price on everything that they find.  They were commercializing their findings and that goes against traditional archaeological ethics.  Real archaeologists do not put any monetary value on any artifacts that they find while excavating. The men in the video also went out simply for their own gain.  They tried to find the coolest stuff and even made it a competition between each other to see who could find the most valuable artifact.  Real archaeologists do not do anything of this nature.  In fact, they find the real value in what information the artifact can bring and how it could help them understand our culture and history in vast areas around the world.


Another thing that archaeologists might find unethical is that the men in the video were using metal detectors to pick out the spots where they would dig.  Archaeologists do a ton of research before they choose a spot to investigate.  Sometimes they even go as far as searching for things on foot in the area before they officially choose to excavate an area.  On the same note, when the metal detectors went off, the guys just dropped to their knees and starting digging immediately.  Normally archaeologists will run several strategically placed test excavations, rather than simply digging up anywhere they wanted.  Archaeologists also have very careful methods and procedures when they are excavating.


The men in the show do try to justify their actions by visiting historical sites such as the battlefields in that particular episode.  The major thing archaeologists are trying to do is use the artifacts they find to gain more information about our past to further understand human history.  However, even though these guys were visiting historical areas, they do not try to contribute any information to our history based off their findings.  Overall, although they are doing the same things as archaeologists in some sort of way, they do not have the purpose and therefore it is archaeologically unethical.

6 thoughts on “W7 Reflection Post

  1. I had never thought that archaeologists would be upset and insulted by the lack of preparation when digging but I totally understand know. Because true archaeologists must put in immense amounts of time in studying a landscape and performing strategically placed test digs along with other pre-excavation tests like ground penetrating radar, I can definitely understand why an archaeologist would be very insulted when these men immediately begin digging once their metal detectors go off. And I agree with everything you have stated here and I think the most unethical part of this show is the fact that they attribute a potential monetary value to these artifacts when the true treasure of these finds is the information that they can provide.

  2. The part that was most frustrating to me was that they are doing all this damage to the archaeology record and community for barely a hundred dollars’ worth of finds in one day. It is not a get rich quick plan because they are not getting rich, they are doing it for really cheap thrills. The poor historic sites that they are searching are getting ripped off thinking that these guys will help them but they are not. When real archaeologist come to the site anything they might have found will be discredited because of these guys. They need to know that these guys are not the answer to their questions.

  3. I really loved your post and completely agree with it. I thought that there was no way these guys were real archaeologists. The way they were digging up these “artifacts” and looking for them just explained so much. A real archaeologists would find a dig site and implement a much more organized and preservative dig. They did not even care about that or the culture these artifacts could bring to the society around them. They also only concerned themselves with monetary value of the objects and were clearly trying to make a quick buck. It was quite evident that none of this was very ethical in archaeology.

  4. If I had watched this show an year ago, it would have been pretty fun and interesting. The entertainment aspect of this TV show is great and I am sure, the viewers enjoy watching it a lot. But it does not show what real archaeology looks like. They violated a lot of rules of archaeology which certainly would make an archaeologist upset. It is because once the TV show gains popularity and its viewership increases, people will have a certain mindset about archaeology, just like a popular films show. The national geographic channel has some great shows, but they need to monitor what is shown to the public and its authenticity.

  5. Your post sums up my feelings on the matter pretty effectively. The show is definitely entertaining, something that archaeology has a hard time being. One of our readings this week mentions how when the author starts talking about his line of work, his listeners’ eyes glaze over and they tune him out. Archaeology is fascinating, interesting, and important… but entertaining is not a word frequently associated with it.

    However, to even associate these two with archaeology would be interpreting the term in the loosest sense. These two are not true archaeologists, and they are not a good representation of what actual archaeologists do.

    I also find it interesting that the first thing that everyone points out is the commercialization aspect. It’s so obvious that everyone who has listened to the lecture that what they do is not ethical in the slightest, and only serves to encourage others to loot archaeological finds for profit.

  6. I have the same way of thinking with you, in which the most important part that the men in the video violated is commercialization. They mentioned every value that they would estimate for their findings, which will give a personal profit rather than for knowledge or public understanding. But, since we all already learned about how archaeologists do excavation, this movie is just like for entertaining instead of educating. They did not do any observation and research before they excavated the site. Also, there was not any further research or comparation if the findings are related to the previous archaeological records or documents. From seven of the ethical principles listed, none of them are being followed by the men in the video.

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