Appropriating the Past: Philosophical Perspectives on the Practice of Archaeology

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Geoffrey Scarre, Robin Coningham
Cambridge University Press, Nov 12, 2012 - Social Science - 364 pages
In this book an international team of archaeologists, philosophers, lawyers, and heritage professionals addresses significant ethical questions about the rights to access, manage, and interpret the material remains of the past. The chapters explore competing claims to interpret and appropriate the past and the major ethical issues associated with them, including handling the sacred; contested rights over sites, antiquities, and artifacts; the involvement of local communities in archaeological research; and the legal status of heritage sites. The book covers a range of hotly debated topics in contemporary archaeological practice, focusing particularly on the relationship between academic archaeologists and indigenous communities for whom the material remnants of the past that form the archaeological record may be part of a living tradition and anchors of social identity.

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About the author (2012)

Geoffrey Scarre is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University and the co-founder and director of the Durham University Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage. He is the editor (with Chris Scarre) of The Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice and author of several books including, most recently, Death, Mill's 'On Liberty': A Reader's Guide and On Courage.

Robin Coningham is Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of Archaeology at Durham University and co-founder of the Durham University Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage. Active as a field archaeologist in South Asia and Iran, he currently leads a UNESCO archaeological team which is excavating inside the temple of the Buddha's birth at Lumbini in Nepal.

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