Anthropology | Archaeological Ethics
P509 | 27105 | Pyburn
This class will focus on the ethical issues raised by archaeological
research. Recent political and cultural developments in the United
States have led to a spate of new laws and new ethical codes affecting
archaeology as a profession. Other developed and developing nations
have begun to make similar new demands on archaeologists and
archaeological information. The causes of these changes, as well as
the consequences, are transforming archaeology into a very new field
for some archaeologists. Other archaeologists continue to productively
define their field in terms of a modernist agenda that they identify
with responsible science.
The class will approach the issues encompassed in archaeological
ethics as a series of debates. In the first week, we will begin with a
discussion of the history of archaeology and the changing goals of the
discipline over the past century. The debate will focus on the concept
of culture and the nature of science. In the second week we will
compare and contrast the ethical codes of various organizations and
examine the laws affecting scientific research into the human past. In
the third week we will discuss looting versus subsistence digging and
how these relate to ideas about cultural and intellectual property. In
the fourth week we will review issues of representation and the
political implications of the religion-science arguments. In the 5th
week we will look at archaeology as a dangerous practice with violent
overtones. In week 6 we will look at the positive uses of
archaeological research and the potential for the promotion of
political justice. In week seven we will introduce case studies from
Central America and Alaska. In week seven we will wrap up and hear
presentations on class projects.
REQUIREMENTS (no late papers!)
1.Attendance, Readings & participation = 40% Usually class will
consist of a general discussion of readings during the first hour
(with special emphasis on the study questions provided in Vitelli) and
a structured debate during the second hour; if you do not do the
assignment and come to class you cannot participate. I will notice if
you do not do the readings. You will fill out a 3 x 5 card every class
with your name, the date, and the answer to a question. I will
determine your participation grade by attendance and by evaluating
your contribution to the discussion.
Required readings (may vary):
Vitelli, K.D. (1996) Archaeological Ethics AltaMira Press, CA [KDV]
Zimmerman, L., KD Vitelli, and Julie Hollowell-Zimmer (2004) Ethical
Issues in Archaeology AltaMira
Press, CA [ZVZ]
Pyburn, KA, and Rosemary Joyce (2003) Indiana Jones in the Twenty
First Century (online on oncourse)
2. Book Review = 20% During the 2nd week a book will be assigned to
each student; the review will be about 5 double-spaced pages and will
include 2-300 word abstract to be handed out to the class.
3. Group Project = 40% The class will do one of several possible group
projects. Possibilities include:
A. Help make IU the center for ethical resources through construction
of a WEB page that provides a comprehensive resource on archaeological
ethics, including links to as many relevant sites and topics as possible.
B. Develop an outreach project for a Bloomington public school.
C. Develop a series of research projects to be used to teach
undergraduates ethical principles along with regular topics of
archaeological investigation, i.e. ethics with survey, stewardship
with museum display, public outreach with stratigraphic recording.
D. Write a series of press releases to inform the local community
about the ongoing research of archaeologists in the area, to raise
awareness of the field generally.
E. Design and administer a survey of knowledge or opinions on some
archaeological topic to IU students and publish the results in the
Daily Student to heighten awareness.
F. Construct a web presence for Ethical Archaeology at Indiana
University with a comprehensive series of Wikipedia entries