Anthropology | Archaeological Ethics
P409 | 27406 | Pyburn
This class will focus on the ethical issues raised by archaeological
research. Recent political and cultural developments in the United
States have lead 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 begin with a discussion of the ethical principles
developed by the Society for American Archaeology and other related
societies and organizations. From this groundwork we will move to a
discussion of the concept of culture, and how the critique of this
concept foregrounds the ethical dilemmas of archaeological research.
Next we will consider the causes and consequences of the looting of
archaeological sites and the theft of artifacts. Then the class will
focus on the perspective and experience of people affected by
archaeological research and archaeological claims about the past,
including African Americans, women, Native North Americans, and Native
Central Americans. In this section we will discuss the repercussion of
NAGPRA for the future of archaeology.
The class will choose a group project. Participants will vote on their
choice at the beginning of the second
class. 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. Present a co-authored paper at the American Anthropological
Association meetings in Washington, DC next year.
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.
CLASS REQUIREMENTS (no late papers!)
Attendance & participation = 40% Usually class will consist of a
general discussion of readings during the first hour 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. Readings are listed below.
Group Project = 40% This will be democratically chosen at the start of
the Thursday class (see below).
Book Review = 20% During the 2nd week a book will be assigned to each
student for review, reviews will be 3 to 5 pages in length.