The “Other” Meaning of Value in Archaeology: The Uncomfortable Topics of Money, Looting, and Artifacts of Questionable Origin

Bibliographic Information

Title

The “Other” Meaning of Value in Archaeology: The Uncomfortable Topics of Money, Looting, and Artifacts of Questionable Origin

Book Title

Archaeology in Society: Its Relevance in the Modern World

Author(s)

Pettigrew, Richard M. and Balachandran, Sanchita

Editor(s)

Rockman, Marcy and Flatman, Joe

Year of Publication

2012

Chapter Pages

123-137

Publisher Name

Springer

Publisher Location

New York

Additional Information

Language

English

Source Type

Book Chapter

Notes

Abstract: This chapter discusses situations in which the authors have had to deal with things that the field of archaeology and overall study of the past would really prefer not to exist – the “problematic” side of archaeology. For Pettigrew, this is the topic of treasure hunting and the video about Odyssey Marine Exploration’s (OME) finds that he posted on The Archaeology Channel and which caused an extraordinary amount of dispute about the rights and wrongs of the work of organizations such as OME. For Balachandran, this is the study of issues of treating the sword that she described in her article in Archaeology Magazine. The authors frame their discussions in terms of the topic of artifacts and money: in other words, in addition to their “priceless” value in representing the past, the place that archaeological artifacts also have in terms of monetary value, how the authors have encountered this aspect of archaeology/study of the past in their work (i.e., your given situations above), and what dilemmas – and solutions to these dilemmas – that this financial reality has presented.

Additional tags: treasure hunting; commercialization; ethical dilemmas

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