Just imagine this happening in the UK. Archaeologists learn about a TV programme about treasure hunting and react as archaeologists should to anything which creates a threat to the archaeological record and public perceptions of archaeology and archaeological convention. There was such an occasion a while back when a (single) PAS employee with a conscience anonymously passed on the information about what PAS was scheming with a TV company, and what happened? Most UK archaeologists shrugged, some made fun of those criticising such a notion, one or two made desultory mumblings, but then forgot about it. "Not my problem" it seems they concluded. Here is how the conservation conscious AIA has reacted in the USA to a similar matter. Quite a difference, isn't there?
Dear AIA Members,
The AIA has learned of two new TV shows that promote treasure hunting to find archaeological objects. National Geographic's "Diggers" airs tonight and Spike TV's "American Diggers" will air next month. Both shows feature metal detectorists and at least one ("American Diggers") emphasizes the commercial value of the found objects. The AIA believes that these shows promote the looting and destruction of archaeological sites.
The AIA has joined several other groups including the SAA, SHA, and RPA in voicing concern about these programs and the negative messages they send about cultural heritage and its recovery. Links to copies of the SAA and SHA letters can be found at the bottom of this letter.
We would like to ask you, our members and archaeology enthusiasts, to send letters and/or e-mails to the companies involved asking them to alter the message of the shows and to provide disclaimers during the airing of the show that makes it clear that what the shows are promoting is unethical and in some instances may even be illegal. We hope that they will engage in a meaningful dialogue with archaeologists about the illicit practices they promote.
Voice your Concern
Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney
Gurney Productions, Inc.
8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, California 90045
President, Spike TV
New York, New York 10019
Send comments or questions regarding National Geographic Channel television programming:
There are also Facebook Pages where you can comment.
One is a "People against American Diggers" Facebook Page:
If you would like to add comments to the Spike website, please visit the comments section at the bottom of the following page:
The Spike TV announcement is available at:
See Letters Submitted by the SAA and SHA
"Voice your concern", now that's a novel idea isn't it? I suppose first UK archaeologists would have to get their noses out of their finds trays and coin books and actually be a bit concerned about things like this ... (by the way, the 'Spike' petition has reached 15,475 signatures).
Then we have the summary (Wednesday, February 29, 2012) on "Sexy Archaeology" of what has been going on: