Ethics of Public Archaeology

Jameson describes public archaeology as allowing individuals of the community to be offered the opportunity to develop a basic understanding of archaeology through various multimedia platforms as well as involving them in archaeological projects. Participatory Action Research (PAR), described by McGhee, is shaping the social structure of the knowledge process as well as becoming self-sufficient activists.

When applying ethical principles to projects, both Jameson and McGhee give the impression that they are undoubtedly considered, however the ethical principles are not entirely implemented on projects. Public archaeologist, at an entry-level, are given standards such as maintaining basic knowledge of techniques to convey archaeological information to the public, ability to work as a team to design and implement effective public interaction, and public speaking knowledge. Public archaeologist remains hopeful the community will be involved in the projects they are invested in, though there are situations in which members of the community do not meet the same requirements, thus the data collected is interpreted differently from archaeologist to member of the community. Given this, there is potential that when community members engage in archaeological projects then this may be influential on the direction of the research with no intent of such direction.

To meet public needs, our project could implement the ideas offered by the public but continue to view our data from an archaeological standpoint. Then, not only are we allowing the public to express their opinion and assist in our research but we are also staying true to the roots of archaeological research.

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