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Digging Down Deep Essay

1098 words - 5 pages

Indiana Jones is a renowned character in today’s media. He is portrayed as a fearless fedora-wearing archaeologist, and his goal is to collect artifacts and preserve them in museums. While the field of archaeology is exciting, and the idea of partaking in perilous adventures may seem alluring, the archaeologist was depicted in an incorrect manner. An archaeologist is someone who studies human history through the excavation of sites and the examination of artifacts. Archaeologists study the past to learn more about the lives and cultures of people before. The science of archaeology is a relatively new and quickly growing field; yet, as expected with science, numerous ethical and controversial ...view middle of the document...

One of Napoleon’s soldiers, Jean-François Champollion, discovered the Rosetta stone. The Rosetta stone was an important discovery because it turned out to be the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (Dowdey, 2). After this discovery, the importance of the field of archaeology was shown to the world and many progresses were made. During the nineteenth century, General Pitt-Rivers was the first person to excavate and document an archaeological site in the correct manner (Adkins). Throughout this same time period, scholars such as J.J.A Worsaae and Jefferies Wyman began to establish archaeology as a science by spending their lives researching and writing about the history of archaeology. They were among the few who presented the correct type of information about archaeology to the world (Christenson). After General Pitt-Rivers, Worsaae, and Wyman people began to think of archaeology as a science instead of an interesting pastime. The development of scientific archaeology progressed even further in twentieth centuries with new types of techniques such as carbon dating, which is a process that uses the presence of carbon-14 in organic materials to determine how old an artifact is ( Distinguished discoveries such as King Tutankhamun’s tomb and the city of Pompeii helped bring even more publicity to the field of archaeology. Many people became interested in learning more about the science.
The treatment of human remains has always been an issue in archaeology.

While the treatment of human remains is a controversial issue, the rightful ownership of artifacts is also an issue. There are three groups of people who believe that they have the rightful ownership of artifacts. The local people of the archaeological site, the descendants of the first owners, and archaeologists all believe that they should have claim to the artifacts. Many locals believe they own the artifacts simply because the artifacts are in the vicinity. However, this is not the case. When locals decide to collect memorabilia, they are looting. The looting of artifacts is an ever-growing problem. Many archaeologists want to ban the selling of artifacts completely. Online sites such as E-Bay and Amazon are contributing to the major problem of looting. Unfortunately, the looters inevitably end up destroying historical evidence that should have been documented. The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and the Archaeological Institute of America have taken legal steps to try and prohibit online auctions of artifacts to little avail...

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