Principle No. 1:
The archaeological record, that is, in situ archaeological material and sites, archaeological collections, records and reports, is irreplaceable. It is the responsibility of all archaeologists to work for the long-term conservation and protection of the archaeological record by practicing and promoting stewardship of the archaeological record. Stewards are both caretakers of and advocates for the archaeological record for the benefit of all people; as they investigate and interpret the record, they should use the specialized knowledge they gain to promote public understanding and support for its long-term preservation.
See, to me at least, this first principle seems to be saying that a person's possessions placed with him or her at the time of death are NOT their possessions; but rather the deceased is acting as a steward for whomever decides to take those possessions.
Principle No. 2:
Responsible archaeological research, including all levels of professional activity, requires an acknowledgment of public accountability and a commitment to make every reasonable effort, in good faith, to consult actively with affected group(s), with the goal of establishing a working relationship that can be beneficial to all parties involved.
Nice wording. But what if the "affected groups" protest? Will they not continue the dig? Or will they continue anyway, despite the protest?
Principle No. 3:
The Society for American Archaeology has long recognized that the buying and selling of objects out of archaeological context is contributing to the destruction of the archaeological record on the American continents and around the world. The commercialization of archaeological objects - their use as commodities to be exploited for personal enjoyment or profit - results in the destruction of archaeological sites and of contextual information that is essential to understanding the archaeological record. Archaeologists should therefore carefully weigh the benefits to scholarship of a project against the costs of potentially enhancing the commercial value of archaeological objects. Whenever possible they should discourage, and should themselves avoid, activities that enhance the commercial value of archaeological objects, especially objects that are not curated in public institutions, or readily available for scientific study, public interpretation, and display.
While it's nice that the individual Archaeologists are not suppose to benefit from digging up a person's resting place; the field of archaeology DOES gain from doing so...They gain from being able to place whatever they find in the grave in museums, ect.
Principle No. 4:
Public Education and Outreach
Archaeologists should reach out to, and participate in cooperative efforts with others interested in the archaeological record with the aim of improving the preservation, protection, and interpretation of the record. In particular, archaeologists should undertake to: 1) enlist public support for the stewardship of the archaeological record; 2) explain and promote the use of archaeological methods and techniques in understanding human behavior and culture; and 3) communicate archaeological interpretations of the past. Many publics exist for archaeology including students and teachers; Native Americans and other ethnic, religious, and cultural groups who find in the archaeological record important aspects of their cultural heritage; lawmakers and government officials; reporters, journalists, and others involved in the media; and the general public. Archaeologists who are unable to undertake public education and outreach directly should encourage and support the efforts of others in these activities.
See, principle #4 seems to be saying, at least to me, that the archaeologists should tell 1: Native Americans, or others ethnic groups, that their ancestor's belongings are not theirs...they are mere stewards for the archaeologist. Holding them, as it were, until the archaeologist came for them.
2: If said group still protests, give them the line about being able to understand human behavior and culture.
3: explain their own culture to them, using an artifact that you took from their ancestors, and justify taking their ancestor's belongings. And if unable to do this, then support those that can.
Principle No. 5:
Intellectual property, as contained in the knowledge and documents created through the study of archaeological resources, is part of the archaeological record. As such it should be treated in accord with the principles of stewardship rather than as a matter of personal possession. If there is a compelling reason, and no legal restrictions or strong countervailing interests, a researcher may have primary access to original materials and documents for a limited and reasonable time, after which these materials and documents must be made available to others.
Legal restrictions? And it isn't against the law to rob a grave? Allow me to explain...I realize that the terms "grave robbing" and "archaeologist" in the same sentence is a sore point with you, so I'll clarify. What #5 seems to be saying, at least to me, is: A person or culture's possessions at the time of death don't belong to them...they belong to the archaeological record, that's why they are viewed as stewards. It's easier to take something if you already believe it did not belong to someone else, but that the person or culture was merely holding it for you.
Principle No. 6:
Public Reporting and Publication
Within a reasonable time, the knowledge of archaeologists gain from investigation of the archaeological record must be presented in accessible form (through publication or other means) to as wide a range of interested publics as possible. The documents and materials on which publication and other forms of public reporting are based should be deposited in a suitable place for permanent safekeeping. An interest in preserving and protecting in situ archaeological sites must be taken in to account when publishing and distributing information about their nature and location.
So the fact that they report what they find, place said objects in a museum makes digging up someone and taking their belongings alright. As for suitable place for safe keeping....I'd argue that the artifacts were already safe. That is, until the archaeologists got there.
Principle No. 7:
Records and Preservation
Archaeologists should work actively for the preservation of, and long term access to, archaeological collections, records, and reports. To this end, they should encourage colleagues, students, and others to make responsible use of collections, records, and reports in their research as one means of preserving the in situ archaeological record, and of increasing the care and attention given to that portion of the archaeological record which has been removed and incorporated into archaeological collections, records, and reports.
This one merely seems to be saying, at least to me, that archaeologists should encourage others to join their profession.
Principle No. 8:
Training and Resources
Given the destructive nature of most archaeological investigations, archaeologists must ensure that they have adequate training, experience, facilities, and other support necessary to conduct any program of research they initiate in a manner consistent with the foregoing principles and contemporary standards of professional practice.
So it's alright to perform a dig, as long as you're competent enough to do so in a manner that you don't break what you find?
Have I covered all the principles? Please feel free to point out how my interpretation of them are in error.