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Ethics and Cultural Heritage

by: Carina Sauter

Ethics and Cultural Heritage ANTH 1102

Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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About this Document

These are the last weekly notes before our third test. These notes discuss Dr. Birch's lecture on the meaning of heritage and its importance to this class as well as the ethics behind research in ...
Introduction to Anthropology
Dr. Birch
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Tuesday March 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1102 at University of Georgia taught by Dr. Birch in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 55 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Georgia.

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Date Created: 03/15/16
Ethics and Cultural Heritage • Archaeology: the study of material remains and cultural features in order to describe and explain past human behavior • The Archaeological Record à The Archeological Resource à The Archaeological Heritage o The Archeological Record: § the stuff we use to reconstruct what past people did § The body of physical evidence about the past o The Archeological Resource: § The archaeological record as a resource for learning about the past in the present § A resource for developing scientific knowledge § A resource for developing cultural knowledge § As a means for understanding/studying o The Archaeological Heritage as Cultural Heritage § Heritage: • Something that is or may be inherited from a predecessor; (heir) inheritance • Valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations • Something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation (birthright) • Valued objects (buildings, artifacts) • Qualities (dance, language, morals) o The process of valuation usually proceeds from § 1. Record – upon first identification § 2. Resource – as it is evaluated and we learn more about it § 3. Heritage – as it is interpreted and deemed fit for public consumption and/or of value to groups among the public o The Archaeological Heritage § Whose archeological heritage? § Whose cultural heritage? § Global and local § The value of sites is not always just archaeological; balancing use and conservation • Medicine Wheel, Wisconsin (1050-1200 AD) – CONSERVATION o Disallow people to go near it to keep it in good shape • Westminster Abbey, UK (1268 AD) – USE o Encourage people to go inside; still used as a place of worship • Protecting the Archaeological Heritage o Illegal threats to the archaeological heritage § Looting and Illicit trade in antiquities • Poor often do this to feed their families • Sell on streets and online • For museums o Not just black markets o 85-90% of classical artifacts are not documents o things bought prior to 1970 law are allowed to remain in new museums rather than be returned to original places o Often purchased for collections • From museums o WWII “Priam’s Treasure” disappeared from Berlin and reappeared in Moscow 40 years later o Germany stole many pieces of art during WWII o Mound Museums stolen from o Need great security • Iconoclasm and the targeted destruction of Heritage o Iconoclasm: the action of attacking or assertively rejecting beliefs and institutions or established values and practices o Ex. Egypt: destruction of images of Hashetsput (female pharaoh) – attempt to wipe her out of history o Byzantine iconoclasm – destruction of images of saints o Ex. Taliban destroying Bamiyan Buddhas 2001 o Ex. ISIL destroying Temple of Ballshamin 2015 o Legal threats to the archaeological heritage § Infrastructure and land development • The Conservation ethic: the archaeological record is a fragile and non-renewable resource • Forestry, roads, buildings, dams • The Aswan Dam built and totally floods the Temple of Abu Simpel o Cultural Resource Management § Managing places of archaeological, architectural, and historical interest § Compliance with environmental and historic preservation laws § Made up of 80% archaeological positions and careers § The Antiquities Act (1906) • First US law to provide general protection for cultural or natural resources • Set up penalties for the unauthorized collection or excavation of historic or prehistoric ruins or monuments situated on federal land § National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (1966) • Law under which much of contemporary American Archeology is conducted • Created the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation • Enables archeological sites to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places • 95% archeological projects • advising counsel • granted protection • laws only pertain to certain areas o state laws over act • Section 106 of the NHPA requires that all federal agencies provide the advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on any undertaking which has an effect on a historic property listed on or eligible for listing on the national register of historic place § Multiple stakeholders • Who owns the past? Who decides what will be preserved and how? o Part law, part moral ethics • Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) 1990 o The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act describes the rights of Native American lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations with respect to the treatment, repatriation, and disposition of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony, referred to collectively in the statute as cultural items, with which they can show a relationship of lineal descent or cultural affiliation. • Kennewick Man o Discovered in Washington State, 1996 o Remains radiocarbon dated to ~9000 BP § One of the oldest, if not the oldest, preserved human skeleton found in the US § Most likely Native American o Claimed by a coalition of Native American bands and tribes under NAGPRA o Scientists sued the government attempting to keep remains for scientific study o Lawsuit that tied up repatriation for 10 years o Permission to study bones granted in 2005-2006 o Kennewick man’s origins: § Coastal Asian population § Linked to peopling of the Americas § What then is his relationship to modern Native Americans?


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