Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Some Archaeologists get it, Some Archaeologists apparently not

There is concern (Kristin Romey  'This Crumbling Dam Could Wipe Out Cultural Treasures'  fears for the catastrophic destruction of thousands of Iraqi heritage sites in the event of the possible collapse of the Mosul Dam described as "The Most Dangerous Dam in the World". A structural failure could inundate Mosul in more than 70 feet (21 meters) of water within three or four hours.

Jason Ur, professor of anthropology at Harvard University [...] notes that archaeologists in the region often rely on surface artifacts to roughly determine the age and size of a site without excavation. An enormous flood sweeping across the landscape would jumble the surface record. "One of our best tools for doing investigation would be completely taken away from us. It would make work in the future extremely difficult."
British archaeologists don't need to worry about catastrophic floods, but then their surface sites are compromised right under their noses by artefact hunters removing collectables. Do they care? It seems not.

Vignette: Archaeological fieldwork by Harvard on unlooted surface sites in Iraq, few such sites now survive in the UK.

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