By Alejandro Haber, Nick Shepherd
While books on archaeological and anthropological ethics have proliferated in recent times, few try and stream past a traditional discourse on ethics to think about how a dialogue of the social and political implications of archaeological perform should be conceptualized in a different way. The conceptual rules approximately ethics posited during this quantity make it of curiosity to readers outdoors of the self-discipline; actually, to a person drawn to modern debates round the chances and obstacles of a discourse on ethics. The authors during this quantity got down to do 3 issues. the 1st is to trace the ancient improvement of a dialogue round ethics, in tandem with the advance and “disciplining” of archaeology. the second one is to check the meanings, results and efficacies of a discourse on ethics in modern worlds of perform in archaeology. The 3rd is to push past the language of ethics to think about alternative routes of framing a collection of matters round rights, accountabilities and meanings on the subject of practitioners, descendent and affected groups, websites, fabric cultures, the ancestors and so on.
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Additional resources for After Ethics: Ancestral Voices and Post-Disciplinary Worlds in Archaeology
Time for the Dead I have written at length about the events around Prestwich Street and their outcome: the failure of the appeal process, the antagonism of many archaeologists towards the anti-exhumation activists of the Hands Off Committee, the construction of a luxury apartment building (The Rockwell) on the Prestwich Street site, and the operation of the ironically styled Truth Café at the Prestwich Memorial Site (Shepherd 2007, 2013; Shepherd and Ernsten 2007). For the purposes of this chapter, one of the most noteworthy aspects of the events around Prestwich Street was the manner in which the activists of the Hands Off Committee articulated and mobilized a counterdiscourse, both as a way of conceptualizing their own relationship to the remains and as a way of mounting a public and legal challenge to the exhumations.
Postwars of the Dead Prestwich Street was not an isolated instance. In the very period in which the Prestwich Street dead were being exhumed, the dead of the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan were being reburied on site, as one of the outcomes of a lengthy set of struggles involving federal agencies, African-American community activists, and archaeologists (La Roche and Blakey 1997, 1998; Mack and Blakey 2004). Subaltern struggles around rights, resources and representation mobilized around archaeological sites and human remains form a growing part of contemporary worlds of practice in archaeology.
For example, Ray Inskeep, belonging to the first generation of academic archaeologists in southern Africa lamented his unease with the lack of professionalism and by extension good ethics in the subject. Inskeep (1970: 307, quoted in Deacon 1993) stated that “if archaeology were something which could be practised without training, or learned in an armchair at home, a large number of university departments 3 “Do as I Say and Not as I Do”. On the Gap Between Good Ethics… 29 throughout the world would be wasting their time, and would have been doing so for a very long time.
After Ethics: Ancestral Voices and Post-Disciplinary Worlds in Archaeology by Alejandro Haber, Nick Shepherd