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The Ethics of Archaeology
Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice


Chris Scarre, Geoffrey Scarre, James O. Young, Oliver Leaman, Robert Layton, Gillian Wallace, Julie Hollowell, Jeffrey C. Bendremer, Kenneth A. Richman, Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, T. J. Ferguson, David E. Cooper, Douglas P. Lackey, Leo Groarke, Gary Warrick, Sarah Tarlow, Sandra M. Dingli, Atle Omland, Robin Coningham, Rachel Cooper, Mark Pollard
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  • Date Published: January 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521549424

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About the Authors
  • The question of ethics and their role in archaeology has stimulated one of the discipline's liveliest debates. In this collection of essays, first published in 2006, an international team of archaeologists, anthropologists and philosophers explore the ethical issues archaeology needs to address. Marrying the skills and expertise of practitioners from different disciplines, the collection produces interesting insights into many of the ethical dilemmas facing archaeology today. Topics discussed include relations with indigenous peoples; the professional standards and responsibilities of researchers; the role of ethical codes; the notion of value in archaeology; concepts of stewardship and custodianship; the meaning and moral implications of 'heritage'; the question of who 'owns' the past or the interpretation of it; the trade in antiquities; the repatriation of skeletal material; and treatment of the dead. This important collection is essential reading for all those working in the field of archaeology, be they scholar or practitioner.

    • Explores one of the most engaging debates in archaeology, that of the role of ethics in archaeological research
    • Takes an interdisciplinary approach which embraces archaeology, anthropology and philosophy
    • An international team of specialists in their fields offers interesting insights into the issues generated by the current debate
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a provocative, thoughtful and entirely engaging read. The key to its success is that each chapter, variously written by ten archaeologists, seven philosophers and four anthropologists … relates its arguments to real, mostly contemporary situations and events, many familiar. This is both a stimulating read and, in its separate parts, a thinking handbook.' British Archaeology

    'The Ethics of Archaeology covers a wide range of intellectual territory, ranging from philosophy to legal frameworks, from indigenous viewpoints to the practical application of ethical standards and from the role of trust in virtue ethics to the role of institutional review boards in regulating human subject research. It admirably accomplishes its stated goal 'to promote dialogue between archaeologists, anthropologists and philosophers on significant ethical issues raised by the contemporary practice of archaeology'. … Reflecting as this does significant divisions within the discipline, this multiplicity of voices and viewpoints is to the credit of the editors of each volume.' European Journal of Archaeology

    '… carefully planned and assembled … and rewarding …' Cambridge Archaeological Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521549424
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of contributors
    1. Introduction Chris Scarre and Geoffrey Scarre
    Part I. The Ownership of Cultural Objects:
    2. Cultures and the ownership of archaeological finds James O. Young
    3. Who guards the guardians? Oliver Leaman
    4. Is culture a commodity? Robert Layton and Gillian Wallace
    5. Moral arguments on subsistence digging Julie Hollowell
    Part II. Archaeologists and the Living:
    6. Human subjects review and archaeology: a view from Indian country Jeffrey C. Bendremer and Kenneth A. Richman
    7. Trust and archaeological practice: towards a framework of virtue ethics Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and T. J. Ferguson
    8. Truthfulness and 'inclusion' in archaeology David E. Cooper
    9. Ethics and native American reburials: a philosopher's view of two decades of NAGPRA Douglas P. Lackey
    10. Stewardship gone astray? Ethics and the SAA Leo Groarke and Gary Warrick
    Part III. Archaeologists and the Dead:
    11. Can archaeology harm the dead? Geoffrey Scarre
    12. Archaeological ethics and the people of the past Sarah Tarlow
    Part IV. The Common Heritage of Humankind?:
    13. A plea for responsibility towards the common heritage of mankind Sandra M. Dingli
    14. The ethics of the World Heritage concept Atle Omland
    15. What value a unicorn's horn? A study of archaeological uniqueness and value Robin Coningham, Rachel Cooper and Mark Pollard

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Seminar in Anthropology: Ethics
  • Editors

    Chris Scarre, University of Durham
    Chris Scarre is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham. His previous publications include Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe (ed.) (2002) and The Human Past: A Textbook of World Prehistory (ed.) (2005).

    Geoffrey Scarre, University of Durham
    Geoffrey Scarre is Reader at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Durham. He is the author of After Evil: Responses to Wrongdoing (2004) and the editor of Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust (2003).


    Chris Scarre, Geoffrey Scarre, James O. Young, Oliver Leaman, Robert Layton, Gillian Wallace, Julie Hollowell, Jeffrey C. Bendremer, Kenneth A. Richman, Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, T. J. Ferguson, David E. Cooper, Douglas P. Lackey, Leo Groarke, Gary Warrick, Sarah Tarlow, Sandra M. Dingli, Atle Omland, Robin Coningham, Rachel Cooper, Mark Pollard

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