Anthropology | Archaeological Ethics
P409 | 24970 | Pyburn
Above class meets 1st eight weeks only
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 between four possible group projects.
Participants will vote on their choice at the beginning of the second
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. Take advantage of an invitation to present a paper at the
American Anthropological Association meetings in Washington, DC next
year; the paper would discuss the possibility that nationalism and
greed may override the goals of the UNECSO world heritage site
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
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.