Archaeology and landscape ethics

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Archaeology and landscape ethics

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World Archaeology


Dalglish, Chris

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Taylor & Francis Online




Abstract: Landscape has emerged as a significant site for archaeological practice: for our explorations of the past, our contributions to heritage conservation, management and planning and our interventions in the lives of others. Given this, it is imperative that we – archaeological researchers and practitioners, heritage managers and professionals – engage in an ongoing ethical discourse concerning our landscape work. In this article, I aim to contribute to that process. I present a thematic review of developments in theory, ethics and practice across the landscape disciplines and provide a selective analysis of archaeological positions on these matters. From there, and drawing in particular on work in the recently emerged field of ‘landscape ethics’, I develop principles for a relational ethics of archaeological landscape practice. I suggest that these principles provide an explicit ethical platform for engaging with the circumstances of archaeological practice as they are emerging in the twenty-first century, not least as defined by widely relevant supranational landscape policies. More than that, these principles provide a basis for archaeologists to contribute, through their work, to the attainment of landscape justice, i.e. fairness and due reward in relation to landscape matters.

Additional tags: landscape archaeology; landscape ethics; heritage conservation and management


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