Saturday, 28 April 2018

Is Just 'Digging up Old Stuff' in any way an Advance in Archaeological Practice?

There are those in archaeology that are sucked up in the PAS gladtalking about those folk up to their neck in collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record are in some way engaging in something they call 'citizen archaeology'. They might like to explain to the rest of us that if you do a   search for specific terms in periodicals such as Advances in Archaeological Practice, while you get 38 hits for the word 'collection' (in collocation mostly with the word 'data'), and thirteen hits for the word 'detecting', you get just one for the phrase 'metal detecting' - but that (American) article does not refer to collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record but the use of a metal detector as a tool in a systematic archaeological survey.

It seems there is a whole body of post-nineteenth-century archaeological thought that considers the discipline of archaeology to be more, far more, than 'just digging up old things'. Back to school for the rest.

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