Monday 23 July 2018

Ixelles Six Exhibit 'Trumpist' Attitudes to Buried Heritage

The Ixelles Six (fair use, from public domain)
Trump administration officials dismissed benefits of national monuments (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post July 23 2018)  In the US, senior Interior Department officials dismissed evidence of the benefits of preserving national monuments and the value of archaeological discoveries, according to documents the department released this month and retracted a day later.
The thousands of pages of email correspondence chart how Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his aides instead tailored their survey of protected sites to emphasize the value of logging, ranching and energy development that would be unlocked if they were not designated national monuments. Comments the department’s Freedom of Information Act officers made in the documents show that they sought to keep some of the references out of the public eye because they were “revealing [the] strategy” behind the review.
So that is rather like Suzie Thomas, Natasha Ferguson, Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Stijn Heeren and Michael Lewis stating categorically that it is 'fundamentally wrong' and a 'simplistic and incorrect basic assumption' to say that artefacts removed from the archaeological record by collection-driven artefact hunting and not recorded represents 'irrevocable damage to the cultural heritage of an area' and more destructive than if the sites that are looted had been archaeologically excavated and documented properly (here, p. 323, two-thirds down). They too represent a 'cut it all down, dig it all up for use now' standpoint exemplifying the benefits of not bothering to try and preserve sites from such exploitation (pp. 328-30).

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