Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Ethics of Commercial Archaeology: Southern Africa

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2282

Introduction

As far as the discipline of archaeology is concerned, few areas evoke mixed responses as much as the issue of ethics in the subfield of commercial archaeology. To some in southern Africa, as in other places around the globe, commercial archaeology is an opportunity for archaeology to contribute to job creation, policy interventions, and sustainable heritage stewardship (Hall 1989), while to others, it sides with developers in destroying other people’s irreplaceable heritage. Not surprisingly, the rise of commercial archaeology has raised a number of ethical dilemmas – the Hamlet’s to be or not to be moments. Pro-commercial archaeology moral arguments stress the fact that commercial archaeology represents the last opportunity to save archaeological heritage in record before it is destroyed (Deacon 1992; Goudswaard et al. 2012). If archaeologists do not do it, then the heritage will be lost. This is a very appealing moral argument. However, often the very poor-quality...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa