Monday, 31 March 2014

Worth a read on "Nazi War Diggers"


Andy Brockman discusses the issues raised by “Nazi War Diggers" in an extremely well-written and thoughtful article: "Springtime for Hitler and “Nazi War [Death Porn] Diggers” Heritage Daily March 31, 2014 .
The series of four programmes set out to “ to hunt for relics and bodies, uncovering a forgotten story of World War Two’s bloody front.” promising that the programme’s team of amateur talent would “come face to face with the dangers and cost of war.” However, hundreds of archaeologists from the USA, the UK and Europe as well as from across the blogsphere and social media, including many experts in human osteology and battlefield archaeology, are united in condemnation of the series. The [...] programme format follows a tried and tested television template whereby a group of metal detector users investigate a historic site accompanied by a dealer in antiques and other historic material.
Brockman discusses the withdrawal by National Geographic of much of the original publicity material from its website after just over a day and a half of criticism. He points out that modern archaeology does not win many battles in this world
But a victory this is. However, this was not a victory of archaeological organisations and professional bodies who have scarcely reacted to the affair. Instead, it has been achieved by the combined voices of hundreds of committed individual archaeologists who have raised their voices in the name of an ethical position and forced a corporate giant , the National Geographic Channel, part of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox media empire no less, to blink first. [...] Archaeology can and should engage with every available media outlet, pitching the content to suit the audience while at all times treating all its audiences with respect. Twenty years of “Time Team” taught us that. But it must be a case of Great Archaeology making Great Television, not Television generating content out of Archaeology at any cost, or calling people archaeologists just because they dig holes in the ground in response to the bleeps of a metal detector and pull up old stuff. That requires archaeologists to be active partners of the media, and to be prepared to say “No, you need do it this way.” Perhaps the principle lesson of the “Nazi War Diggers” affair and a lesson which places our politicians, and yes media production companies, on notice, is that when their opinions are properly, passionately and bravely articulated, archaeologists have more influence and more sheer people power than anyone thought possible.
Hat tip to Andy Baines
UPDATE 31.03.14
A few hours after that was posted on the Internet, the announcement was made that plans to broadcast the series had been shelved indefinitely.

1 comment:

heritageaction said...

You might very well think it's a victory but a detectorist by the name of Lardbelly has just observed "Just goes to show what happens when a loud angry mob make enough noise".

When I am made Supreme Ruler I shall decree that IQ tests are wired into the On buttons of metal detectors.

 
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