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

Bibliographic Information

Article Title

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

Journal Title

Advances in Archaeological Practice

Author(s)

Pitblado, Bonnie L.

Month of Publication

November

Year of Publication

2014

Volume Number

2

Issue Number

4

Article Pages

338-352

Web Address (URL)

https://doi.org/10.7183/2326-3768.2.4.338

Additional Information

Available Through

CambridgeCore

Language

English

Notes

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.

Abstract also available in Spanish.

Additional tags: artifact collecting; collaboration; ethical codes; professional-collector relationships

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