Ethics of Commercial Archaeology: USA
Once upon a time, most archaeologists were employed by academic institutions and museums. Today in the United States and other countries, most archaeologists – and many historians, architectural historians, historical architects, and a few cultural anthropologists and geographers – are employed by profit-making commercial companies engaged in work on behalf of government agencies and private development interests. Working in this context can present ethical challenges for which many archaeologists (among others) are ill prepared.
As used here, “commercial archaeology” means archaeology conducted by profit-making commercial entities such as consulting firms. Some such firms are purely archaeological in character; others work more broadly with “heritage” or “cultural resources,” variously defined. Others are more generalized still, engaging in broad-scoped environmental impact assessment (EIA) or supporting the design, construction, and operation of dams and...
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