Anthropology | Archaeological Ethics
P509 | 0515 | Vitelli


What defines archaeologists as professionals? What value does archaeology
have for and in the modern world? What are archaeological ethics and why
do we need them?  What are the differences (and sometimes, conflicts)
between archaeological ethics and pertinent laws, and where and how do
they intersect?  What are the archaeologist's responsibilities to the
remnants of the past?  To native and local peoples, ancient and modern?
To the citizens and governments of host countries?  To the natural and
cultural environment?  To each other? What, in short, are their
obligations to the cultural heritage of the world and how can they most
appropriately discharge them?  Where do non-professionals--members of the
interested public--fit into the picture? These questions, both lofty and
highly practical, are our concern.

These and related questions are currently under active discussion and
debate within national archaeological organizations.  Pertinent
international treaties and conventions are under negotiation.  Locally and
nationally the wide range of affected parties is learning from and dealing
with the impact of NAGPRA.  Cases involving cultural property law and
archaeological ethics are in the courts. Federal funding agencies and
archaeological and popular journals are actively debating their policies
on funding or publishing research that includes archaeological materials
on the art market and without provenance.  Archaeology is entering a
self-critical stage, looking at how it is perceived by outsiders and
discovering the need for and challenges of public outreach.  These
together with your backgrounds and interests, will provide focus and
direction for our inquiries.

You will each be asked to select a topic for research.  The results of
your research will be reported in a 10-15 page paper.  While you are
working on those papers, our class discussions will focus on professional
ethics and aspects of the antiquities market.  I hope the papers will be
of a caliber that each may be copied and distributed to everyone else in
the class to be used as an additional resource.  Toward this end, papers
may be revised and resubmitted as often as you like (and time and patience
permit) until you are satisfied with the grade.  Once the papers are in,
we will pursue additional topics and, from our earlier discussions and
your research, will develop one or more group projects that elaborate on
and disseminate information about issues that we have jointly decided are
compelling.  Everyone in the class will contribute to one or more of the
projects.

Grades will be based on your contributions to the class discussions (so
regular attendance is expected, especially since we meet only once a
week), your paper in its final form, and your contributions to the group
projects.