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The Ethics of Archaeology
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Book description

The question of ethics and their role in archaeology has stimulated one of the discipline's liveliest debates. In this collection of essays, first published in 2006, an international team of archaeologists, anthropologists and philosophers explore the ethical issues archaeology needs to address. Marrying the skills and expertise of practitioners from different disciplines, the collection produces interesting insights into many of the ethical dilemmas facing archaeology today. Topics discussed include relations with indigenous peoples; the professional standards and responsibilities of researchers; the role of ethical codes; the notion of value in archaeology; concepts of stewardship and custodianship; the meaning and moral implications of 'heritage'; the question of who 'owns' the past or the interpretation of it; the trade in antiquities; the repatriation of skeletal material; and treatment of the dead. This important collection is essential reading for all those working in the field of archaeology, be they scholar or practitioner.


'… a provocative, thoughtful and entirely engaging read. The key to its success is that each chapter, variously written by ten archaeologists, seven philosophers and four anthropologists … relates its arguments to real, mostly contemporary situations and events, many familiar. This is both a stimulating read and, in its separate parts, a thinking handbook.'

Source: British Archaeology

'The Ethics of Archaeology covers a wide range of intellectual territory, ranging from philosophy to legal frameworks, from indigenous viewpoints to the practical application of ethical standards and from the role of trust in virtue ethics to the role of institutional review boards in regulating human subject research. It admirably accomplishes its stated goal 'to promote dialogue between archaeologists, anthropologists and philosophers on significant ethical issues raised by the contemporary practice of archaeology'. … Reflecting as this does significant divisions within the discipline, this multiplicity of voices and viewpoints is to the credit of the editors of each volume.'

Source: European Journal of Archaeology

'… carefully planned and assembled … and rewarding …'

Source: Cambridge Archaeological Journal

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