Friday, October 12, 2018

Employers of professional archaeologist don't want sites found

(Via Norman Muller)

I received the frank comments below from a fellow I know, who was once a contact archaeologist and is no longer employed in that profession.

"I think many archaeologist's don't want to, or want to create the time, to investigate these fascinating sites, & want to keep 'their jobs' by staying within the parameters of general archaeology, & not venture outside the 'mainstream' of conventional archaeological thought. Sadly, in my own limited experience of working in archaeology, we were very limited in what was investigated & actual artifact finds; in fact, on one site we had a limited investigation of, along the Musconetcong River, we found a small concentration of black chert worked flakes, evidence of Indians having been at this site, we called over the crew-chief to check out the artifacts we found & he threw them into the woods! We had a 'knee-jerk reaction' at this - we said: "What the hell are you doing?!" He responded: "You want a pay-check this week?" "Yes, of course", we responded, "If we report that there was evidence found here, we ( the archaeological company I was working for at the time - CRCG, now defunct) will have to apply for a permit, to archaeologically investigate this site, & we, (CRCG) cannot afford, the time, money, & crew to investigate this site"; "So you found "nothing", understood?" And this is what happens, over & over again, in archaeology, this is why many archaeologists never 'stick their necks out' to investigate such interesting sites as in your articles, you've written about."

1 comment :

Tommy Hudson said...

I believe that responding to a belief system is why these sites have been created. Commenting on the belief system or religion of Native Americans has been generally avoided by proffesionals. Information outside the belief of mainstream archaeology has been effectively demonized, with ‘diffusionist’ and ‘New Age’ being the primary banter. Unfortunately, low information pundits and self styled experts have made this easy to do.

Also, I’m sure that fear of criticism from their peers has stopped many an archaeologist from speaking up. Peer pressure through criticism, shaming, and shunning is powerful in any dicipline. Sticking your neck out and thinking outside the box is not encouraged.

Fortunately, here in Georgia, where they are constantly knocking down the woods, there are a few cultural resource management companies that have convinced developers to avoid sensitive areas, but we still have a long way to go.