Thursday 19 September 2013

Please STOP airing Irresponsible "Digger" programs

"Concerned Archaeologists and Their Supporters" based in Keller, Texas support a wide variety of things to judge from their profile. One of their latest projects however deserves some publicity here: "The National Geographic Channel, The Travel Channel, Spike TV.: Stop airing their "Digger" programs"
they promote looting and disrespect of our national heritage. Would you want your ancestors’ graves, property, or your hometown blatantly struck by shouting diggers with metal detecting devices trying to loot their way across the landscape? Would you want your children to learn that this kind of activity is “okay”? Would you condone tearing the pages out of an important book? If not then please help stop the irresponsible programming that sets this precedent for destroying our heritage and history. This is not what real historians or archaeologists do.
The looting, vandalism and overall commercialization of our national and state- wide cultural landscapes present serious problem throughout the United States as untrained “treasure” hunters pillage sites and collect the artifacts for personal gain or re-sale. Archaeological sites are fragile, non-renewable resources that take decades, centuries and sometimes millennia to form. Yet a careless digger with a shovel can damage or destroy them in minutes.
On federal and state lands such vandalism of our national heritage is on the increase, in part because of programs like The National Geographic Channel’s Diggers, The Travel Channel’s Dig Wars and Spike TV’s American Diggers. These three programs on cable glorify destructive relic collecting and promote looting of our future. [...] These shows send the wrong message to the public in general, and in particular young people, for these reasons:
1) they promote the idea that our history is for sale to anyone with a metal detector;
2) they promote the idea that artifacts are mere trinkets, and only have value when they are dug up by people who can turn them into a commodity for profit;
3) they send the message that digging for buried “treasure” is a great idea, no matter what damage is done to the archaeological context of the sites.
They aim to get 800 signatures. So far they've got 500. If you are concerned about the effects of artefact hunting on the archaeological heritage and the damage this is doing to archaeology, please add your name.
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