Thursday, 1 March 2012

John Roby: "Putting the hurt on heritage"

John Roby ('Putting the hurt on heritage', Digsanddocs Blog February 28, 2012) discusses "the latest offering coming to your TV screen: “American Digger,” on the Spike network (the folks who also bring you “Rat Bastards” and “Tattoo Nightmares.”)

He draws attention to an eloquent post on the SHA blog by Paul Mullins (president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, the largest professional organization for archaeologists working in the historic period), which dismantles the entire premise and rationale for the program. The programme is basically a glamorisation of the destruction of heritage, and the selfish appropriation of selected elements of it for personal use, with no attempt to disseminate any of the knowledge gained (or lost). "That concept goes out the window in programs like this one, and in any case where excavation is done solely to fuel the (private) antiquities trade".

Hat-tip to Chris Cumberpatch

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