Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics (One World Archaeology)

Bibliographic Information


Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics (One World Archaeology)


Hamilakis, Yannis and Duke, Philip


Hamilakis, Yannis and Duke, Philip

Year of Publication


Chapter Pages


Publisher Name

Left Coast Press

Publisher Location

Walnut Creek, CA

Web Address (URL)

Additional Information



Source Type

Edited Volume


Introduction: From ethics to politics / Yannis Hamilakis

Book summary:

The editors and contributors to this volume focus on the inherent political nature of archaeology and its impact on the practice of the discipline. Pointing to the discipline’s history of advancing imperialist, colonialist, and racist objectives, they insist that archaeology must rethink its muted professional stance and become more overtly active agents of change. The discipline is not about an abstract “archaeological record” but about living individuals and communities, whose lives and heritage suffer from the abuse of power relationships with states and their agents. Only by recognizing this power disparity, and adopting a political ethic for the discipline, can archaeology justify its activities. Chapters range from a critique of traditional ethical codes, to examinations of the capitalist motivations and structures within the discipline, to calls for an engaged, emancipatory archaeology that improves the lives of the people with whom archaeologists work. A direct challenge to the discipline, this volume will provoke discussion, disagreement, and inspiration for many in the field.


Part 1: Ethics in question
When theory, practice, and policy collide, or Why do archaeologists support cultural property claims? / Alexander A. Bauer, Shanel Lindsay, and Stephen Urice
Ethical challenges to a postcolonial archaeology : the legacy of scientific colonialism / George Nicholas and Julie Hollowell
Cultural sensitivity, science, and ethical imperatives : contemporary archaeology in the Southwestern United States / Charles R. Riggs
What does it mean "to give the past back to the people"? : archaeology and ethics in the postcolony / Nick Shepherd

Part 2: Archaeology in capitalism, archaeology as capitalism
British commercial archaeology : antiquarians and labourers, developers and diggers / Paul Everill
Ethics, capitalism, and public archaeology in Brazil / Pedro Paulo A. Funari and Erika M. Robrahn-González
The historical process of the commoditization of the Near Eastern past by archaeologists : empire, war, civilization, and other assets / Tamima Orra Mourad
Archaeology within marketing capitalism / Alice B. Kehoe
"Sustainable" heritage? : public archaeological interpretation and the marketed past / Neil Asher Silberman
Contemporary museum practice in Cusco, Peru / Helaine Silverman

Part 3: Ethical futures, emancipatory archaeologies
"Grabe, wo du stehst!" : an archaeology of perpetrators / Reinhard Bernbeck and Susan Pollock
The archaeology of the Spanish Civil War : recovering memory and historical justice / Ermengol Gassiot Ballbè, Joaquim Oltra Puigdoménech, Elena Sintes Olives, and Dawnie Steadman
The culture of caring and its destruction in the Middle East : women's work, water, war, and archaeology / Maggie Ronayne
Ethics, objectivity, and emancipatory archaeology / Dean J. Saitta

Additional tags: politics, postcolonialism, contemporary archaeology, capitalism, historical justice


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