Ethics in action: A viewpoint from Israel/Palestine

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This chapter begins with a biographical illustration of the author’s progression from "neutral"to "critical"archaeology. This is followed by a consideration of extant ethical codes and an attempt to re-define archaeology itself as an independent field with a potentially emancipatory role. As every society recruits the past to support diverse visions of the present and future, archaeologists’ interventions always entail discussion and negotiation. Where intercommunal conflict exists, archaeology will often be recruited to support rival, often mutually exclusive, concepts of collective identity. It can hence easily become implicated in violence. In three brief case-studies from Israel/Palestine I attempt to show how archaeology becomes political, either in the sense of community organization (Rogem Gannim), as agent provocateur in a society where collective memory is suppressed (Lod), or as resistance to oppression (Silwan). These cases should not be viewed as exceptional; it seems reasonable to expect that ethical practice will eventually reinvent the discipline of archaeology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthics and the Archaeology of Violence
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781493916436
ISBN (Print)9781493916429
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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