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How Archaeologists and Artifact Collectors Can—and Should—Collaborate to Comply with Legal and Ethical Antiquities Codes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Bonnie L. Pitblado*
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma, 455 West Lindsey, Norman, OK 73019 (bonnie.pitblado@ou.edu)

Abstract

In a recent American Antiquity forum (Pitblado 2014), I argued that not only is it possible for archaeologists to engage in ethical collaborations with members of the artifact-collecting public, but that the Society for American Archaeology’s “Principles of Archaeological Ethics” stipulates that we should do so. This is not a message, however, that has fully permeated the archaeological community, which has led to a schism between populations who are often natural allies. This paper starts with that premise: that archaeologists should actively pursue collaborations with the artifact-collecting community with the goal of advancing research agendas, public education, and long-term care of collections in private hands. The paper offers guidelines for establishing and nurturing professional-collector relationships in a way that furthers the directives of legal and ethical archaeological codes. I begin with an overview of the changing nature of professional-collector relationships during the twentieth century, exploring reasons for the divisiveness that has characterized recent decades. I next suggest five steps for establishing appropriate relationships with artifact collectors—and avoiding inappropriate ones. Finally, I describe how I followed those steps to establish a network of collector-collaborators to build the foundation for a Paleoamerican research program in southeastern Idaho and northern Utah.

En un reciente foro de American Antiquity (Pitblado 2014), argumenté que no sólo es posible que los arqueólogos se dediquen a colaboraciones éticas con miembros de la colección pública de artefactos sino que “los principios de ética arqueológica” de la Sociedad Americana de Arqueología estipula que lo hagamos. Sin embargo, este no es un mensaje que ha impregnado totalmente a la comunidad arqueológica, ya que ha dado lugar a una división entre la población que a menudo es su aliada natural. Este ensayo comienza con esta premisa: que los arqueólogos deben buscar activamente colaboraciones con la comunidad recolectora de artefactos con la meta de avanzar en los programas de investigación, educación pública y cuidado a largo plazo de las colecciones privadas. El documento ofrece pautas para el establecimiento y apoyo profesional en las relaciones con el coleccionista de una forma que promueve las normas éticas y legales de los códigos arque lógicos. Inicio con una visión general acerca de la natur leza variable de las relaciones de los profesionales y los coleccionistas durante el siglo veinte al explorar las razones de divergencia que las ha caracterizado en las últimas décadas. Posteriormente, sugiero cinco pasos para establecer relaciones adecuadas y evitar las inapropiadas con los coleccionistas de artefactos. Finalmente, describo cómo seguí esos pasos para establecer una red de coleccionistas-colaboradores y construir las bases de un programa Paleoamericano de investigación en el sureste de Idaho y el norte de Utah.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2014

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