Archaeologists try to understand human culture through its material remains.But though the material comes from the past, archaeology takes place in the contemporary world. This course aims to provide a forum for informed discussion about cultural property and cultural heritage. Who owns the archaeological record, and who should interpret it? Students will think about what stakeholders are involved in issues raised by archaeology; what ethical, financial, legal, and political considerations affect decisions these stakeholders make; what legal statutes, ethical codes, and disciplinary practices are involved. We will consider a range of ethical dilemmas involving stewardship, commercialization, public education, intellectual property, public reporting and publication, indigenous rights, and issues faced by museums. We will focus on the countries, sites, and museums we are visiting, especially when considering looting and the antiquities market, nationalism, and repatriation claims. A discussion-centered course using fictional cases developed by the Society for American Archaeology.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
What better place to think about archaeological ethics than on archaeological sites and in archaeological museums? On our first day in Barcelona (Wednesday, June 27), we will hear a presentation on the ship by Alberto P. Marti, the senior project manager at the Arqueotur Project, an international project based at the University of Barcelona that aims to develop archaeological tourism. Then we will visit the Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia-Barcelona, a national museum with exhibits ranging from prehistoric to medieval times, and the Gavà Mine Archaeological Park, opened in 2007, which goes back 6,000 years. Following this experience, you will write a paper about three sites or three museums or three ancient buildings that you visit during the voyage.