Sunday, 15 November 2015

"What's Wrong With Archaeology" According to a Collector

Because they see the perception of problematic issues of the existence of a no-questions-asked antiquities market as artificially created (imagined) by "archaeologists" - who then become their "number one enemy", collectors and dealers often strive to discredit archaeology totally.  This is of course intended to deflect attention from the underlying structural problems in the way the market in which they are players, participants and beneficiaries. They all do it, metal detectorists and coin collectors are especially prone to this behaviour, claiming some "special knowledge" which heritage  professionals are depicted as lacking. As an example of this, we may take some recent writings of Canadian amateur collector John Hooker FSA who shares:
many thoughts I have had about how archaeology is currently practised and its weaknesses. For example, the evidence is very clear that psychologically extraverted [sic] materialists are attracted to field archaeology (but not theoretical or teaching archaeology). This is because they both need material evidence and have a distrust of anything as ethereal as art and religion. Art historical data is commonly dismissed and their overused term "ritual" attempts to take the religious and turn in into the practical/material. After thirty years of studying Jungian psychology, this becomes very easy for me to see.
The question is whether Mr Hooker's personal observations of the psychology of the field archaeologists of "Cowtown", Alberta (founded 1875) can be extrapolated to regions of the world less contaminated by bovine faecal matter and mumbo-jumbo. From my own experience on three continents, I really do not see how anyone could think on can generalise in such a way.  Where is the evidence, apart from "I, John Hooker FSA say so"?

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