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Ethical Archaeology Has Its Own Blog

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Announcing a new space for news, images and discussion around wisdom-based archaeology, rooted in justice and human rights. It's time for archaeology to meet the 21st century and become a science not of destruction and acquisition, but one of preservation and resolution. For too long, we have assumed the right to demolish what we have inherited in and on the land from our Ancestors. In demolishing any ancient site, we are also robbing future generations of their inheritance. From where do we obtain rights to destroy what others have placed with intention, or to erase legacy from the eyes of future generations? The argument has been that we are retrieving data for future use. But, the big admission is that archaeology destroys, and its history is 100% regrets. That's because all past archaeology is crudely destructive and wasteful of potential learning compared to today's archaeology and that of the future. The future of archaeology is in remote sensing technology, and the best actions we can take today are 1. to suspend digs while we wait for 2. improved technology that will enable us to detect and describe without destroying.


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Nothing much has changed. Despite the superficial appearance of legislative and policy improvements, these have not resulted in substantial changes on the end result of archaeological actions. For example, Massachusetts DOT destroyed one 8,000-year-old site in Northampton just a year ago and are planning to destroy a unique "once in a lifetime" site about 10,000 years old not even half a mile away. Massachusetts has no plan to preserve any reservoir of Indigenous heritage sites, nor is there a system to assess, prioritize and preserve any Indigenous heritage sites. All that exists is a policy of procedure for their removal. The end point of almost all discoveries in the state is destruction and removal of artifacts.

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Hmmmmmm^ is this report up to date in / about the discipline in the 21st century ?

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Miles Tardie
Miles Tardie
Jun 17, 2021
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Yes, this report is very much up-to-date. You may not be aware, but Massachusetts has not preserved a single Native archaeological site on its own with Commonwealth funds. MHC also refuses to recognize Native American Stone Prayers as archaeological features, which Moore and Weiss cited in 2016 Ohio Journal of Archaeology as "the most extreme policy of all 50 states." You may be under the illusion that things have changed, but FYI, several Native sites in Massachusetts were destroyed in just the past couple of years. There has been no preservation or public interpretation of these sites. That's a violation of human rights and rights of indigenous peoples according to the declarations USA signed, along with every other natio…

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After 400 years of erasing the archaeological heritage of this continent, it's about time for a new plan. : ) Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work on having some heritage to show our grandchildren.

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