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Egypt to Test Tutankhamun Mummy for Cause of Death

Science Archaeology Egypt Tutankhamun

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#61 Rhea

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 08:54 PM

Handmaiden07, on Nov 16 2004, 10:39 PM, said:

I'm arguing the case here for two reasons. First, I think that Steven_Q makes a good point that doesn't deserve to be categorically dismissed, and second, I do indeed believe in durable wills....

Rhea makes fun of my argument by suggesting that the entire field of archeaology be done away with.  I never suggested anything like that.  There are lots of things to dig up without digging up bones, and there are lots of cultures that bury their bones in such a way that it's impossible to avoid digging them up, even in the natural continuation of the work of living on the planet.  I'm only urging caution about how we handle dead bodies, and, what we bother them  for.  

Indeed, my argument falls on its face if we had no archeological work that tells us what the dead bodies are even there for.    But - since they are there, and now that we do know, I do think we have an obligation to not treat them frivolously.

Your arguments, as always, were well-thought-out, and I should have taken the time to answer you in detail.  {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Handmaiden}}}}}}}}}}}}}

I was an anthropology major, and I took a number of archaeology classes in the course of my education (also worked sorting bones and artifacts on several SF State digs).

There is nobody - and I mean nobody- more respectful of the dead than a good anthropologist or archaeologist. The very nature of their work is painstaking and methodical, with the greatest respect for the bones they disinter. Their curiosity about the past is also boundless.

I would say that any time you're looking at a professional archaeologist working with remains, you're guaranteed that it will be done with respect, because archaeologists respect remains the way that an artist respects his medium, or a historian respects primary sources of material, or a doctor respects (or should respect) the fact that he's treating a living, breathing human being. In fact, whoever gets to run the test on Tutankamen's remains will probably being shaking with excitement at the very idea of being able to work with the mummy, and will treat the mummy reverentially. Wouldn't you?

Orpheus pretty much covered the rest of what I would have said (in his usual thorough fashion).


And Delvo brought up an interesting topic. I tend to agree with him. I'm an organ donor, and once the doctors have gotten everything useable from my body I want it cremated. No muss, no fuss.

Edited by Rhea, 19 November 2004 - 08:57 PM.

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#62 WildChildCait

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 09:41 PM

no, i don't feel StevenQ did insult an entire profession. The fact that he feels this way is his right - and no mod status can take that away - he has this right to feel that way

and you know   what? I agree with him. I hate people desecrating the tombs of people who should be allowed to REST IN  PEACE. We all want that for our forebears and i can't fault STevenQ for wishing this. In fact, i wholeheartedly agree with him. So you can consider me in the same vein as him.
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#63 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 11:02 PM

Chaddee, on Nov 19 2004, 09:41 PM, said:

no, i don't feel StevenQ did insult an entire profession. The fact that he feels this way is his right - and no mod status can take that away - he has this right to feel that way

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It was not Steven’s opinion that got people offended and don’t make this out to be an attempt to suppress his right of speech.  It was how he stated his opinion that got people up in arms but rather the manner in which he stated it.
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#64 Vapor Trails

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 11:09 PM

CJ AEGIS, on Nov 19 2004, 01:22 AM, said:

Since this is a matter directly concerning the behavior of a moderator and how the moderators have been carrying out policy I think this topic should be openly discussed rather than hidden in the Staff Lounge.  The existence of this discussion is enough to call into question the ability of the moderators and administrators to discuss the actions of one of their own without oversight from a larger portion of the community.  Out of courtesy to the Administrators and moderating team, I'm putting you on notice that if we don't see a discussion on this with the team participating openly, we're going to start one...

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Shal: I do want to say that I feel that if people can not hold and express opinions that others disagree with then we are in deep trouble here on this board.
There is a difference between holding an opinion and stating it in an offensive manner.  
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<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



May I add...

What may be offensive to you may not be considered offensive to someone else, and vise versa. It's subjective.

:eh:
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#65 Bad Wolf

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 11:21 PM

So...does the outcry against this generalization (which has apparently been edited) mean that if anyone here ever says anything that I consider even remotely to be "anti lawyer" that the same hue and cry will occur?

Just checking.

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#66 G1223

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 11:32 PM

Well on the original topic I can see a interst as to what caused his death.  I think that testying of tiisue for heavy metals as wellas a MRI could be used to rule out a number of the suspected reasons.


Another place to check might be the jars in which the organs were placed as if it was posion then it might have left metal traces in the tissue.

As to what the hubbub is about I do not care.
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#67 Rhea

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 11:38 PM

^Lol, G. :p

Here are some other links on the Tutankhamen murder theories:

http://www.royalty.n.../Egypt/Tut.html

Apparently there is some argument for a depressed skull fracture from the x-rays. A calcified blot clot shows up (which would result from being whanged by a blunt object).

And an educational link that allows you to "pretend" to be various experts trying to solve the murder:

http://www.pekin.net.../wash/webquest/

There's info on more recent x-rays here:

http://www.touregypt...ies/killtut.htm

Edited by Rhea, 19 November 2004 - 11:43 PM.

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#68 darthsikle

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 10:13 AM

Oh my god people, every statement is some form of a generalization.  You people need thicker skins.  <---Sweeping generalization by using "You", yet, if I name specific posters, I violate another rule.

What to do??
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#69 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 09:26 PM

I honestly don't believe what I'm reading here. People can't have opinions....Good GOD. And before anyone cries "It was a generalization" Lets take a look at the alledged generalization, shall we?

Here is the dictionary defination of the term "Grave Robber" http://dictionary.re...&q=Grave robber

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One who plunders valuables from tombs or graves or who steals corpses after burial, as for illicit dissection

I don't know, it seems this is exactly what archelogists do, doesn't it? At least to me it does.

So, now that we know it wasn't a generalization, but rather a fact where does that leave us?

Or has EI become so Politilcally Correct that even that statement of fact, and GOD forbid, opinions, aren't allowed if they are going to offend others....

*leaves the thread now, before he goes ballistic*
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#70 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 01:47 AM

^I cite the Society of American Archaeologists Statement of Ethics:
SAA Ethics

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Principle No. 2: Accountability: 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.

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Principle No. 5: Intellectual Property: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.
Now how is this illicit?


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Lil: So...does the outcry against this generalization (which has apparently been edited) mean that if anyone here ever says anything that I consider even remotely to be "anti lawyer" that the same hue and cry will occur?
Who Ranks the Lowest?: Which people are scum

This was just a warm up? ;) :eh:

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 29 November 2004 - 01:49 AM.

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#71 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 03:53 PM

^

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Principle No. 1:
Stewardship
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.

Quote

Principle No. 2:
Accountability
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?

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Principle No. 3:
Commercialization
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.

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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.

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Principle No. 5:
Intellectual Property
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

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Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

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#72 tennyson

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 04:39 PM

Well, for one thing you seem to be operating under a single overriding assumption that  archeologists do not believe the principles that they themselves have articulated and are merely windowdressing for more craven pursuits, which is how you have consistently reinterpreted every principle that was given to you.
As for being safer in the ground, that is not so, changing water tables as well as earthquakes, looting, floods and even insect damage can destroy objects that have been buried, not to mention new construction. For example, seasonal flooding has washed away numerous pre-Inca mounds in Peru as well as obliterated frescos, and irrigation has washed away the lowest brick layers of some old Mesopotamian cities.
But maybe a comparison between archeologists and actual looters and grave robbers will help, in the 1980s in an area of Peru known as Huaca Rajada, a man named Ernil Bernal found a series of Moche burial chambers and then rounded up ten friends and took 11 rice bags full of gold and other items without regard to where they were located or anything else other than profit. They were followed by many more looters which got so bad thier were daily gun battles around the site that swamped the local police and brought international media attention. Meanwhile, these artifacts were being smuggled out of Peru and sold to private collectors across the world, pretty much disappearing forever. Then numerous archeologists and anthroplogists got involved with support from the Peruvian government who ran off the gangs and started doing a systematic study of the site. Instead of a haphazard mass of objects they actually managed to learn something about the people and when they were done the objects went to the musueum in Cuzco where the very descendents of those people who lived there could both see and protect them.
Maybe you don't realize this but most of the groups that are studied by archeologists have no living descendents nor has thier culture survived in any form and the people who happen to live in the area now have about as much connection to them as I would to Asoka. Without anyone to steward them would you just have these objects rot away, never telling us anything about the people who once lived in that place or would you have them protected in a climate controlled environment for as long as possible? Most of the objects that archeology deals with aren't graves anyway, they are ruined cities, shelters, garabage dumps, bits of pottery that aren't valued by anyone else but it seems that only the graves and the things with gold get the press. Archelogy is not about smashing into old burials and taking whatever that's valueable, it is about trying to understand who these people were from the objects that they left behind after thier settlements or cultures died.
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#73 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 07:09 PM

Quote

Well, for one thing you seem to be operating under a single overriding assumption that archeologists do not believe the principles that they themselves have articulated and are merely windowdressing for more craven pursuits, which is how you have consistently reinterpreted every principle that was given to you.

Whether they believe it or not isn't the point...their actions are. They literally dig up the remains of people...remains they have no business touching whatsoever.

Quote

As for being safer in the ground, that is not so, changing water tables as well as earthquakes, looting, floods and even insect damage can destroy objects that have been buried, not to mention new construction. For example, seasonal flooding has washed away numerous pre-Inca mounds in Peru as well as obliterated frescos, and irrigation has washed away the lowest brick layers of some old Mesopotamian cities.

Good point. Can't argue that. But being safer in a museum does NOT give one the right to desecrate someone's final resting place.

Quote

But maybe a comparison between archeologists and actual looters and grave robbers will help, in the 1980s in an area of Peru known as Huaca Rajada, a man named Ernil Bernal found a series of Moche burial chambers and then rounded up ten friends and took 11 rice bags full of gold and other items without regard to where they were located or anything else other than profit. They were followed by many more looters which got so bad thier were daily gun battles around the site that swamped the local police and brought international media attention. Meanwhile, these artifacts were being smuggled out of Peru and sold to private collectors across the world, pretty much disappearing forever. Then numerous archeologists and anthroplogists got involved with support from the Peruvian government who ran off the gangs and started doing a systematic study of the site. Instead of a haphazard mass of objects they actually managed to learn something about the people and when they were done the objects went to the musueum in Cuzco where the very descendents of those people who lived there could both see and protect them.
Maybe you don't realize this but most of the groups that are studied by archeologists have no living descendents nor has thier culture survived in any form and the people who happen to live in the area now have about as much connection to them as I would to Asoka. Without anyone to steward them would you just have these objects rot away, never telling us anything about the people who once lived in that place or would you have them protected in a climate controlled environment for as long as possible? Most of the objects that archeology deals with aren't graves anyway, they are ruined cities, shelters, garabage dumps, bits of pottery that aren't valued by anyone else but it seems that only the graves and the things with gold get the press. Archelogy is not about smashing into old burials and taking whatever that's valueable, it is about trying to understand who these people were from the objects that they left behind after thier settlements or cultures died.

And these archaeologists don't sell the stuff they find to museums?
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#74 Delvo

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 07:58 PM

LORD of the SWORD, on Nov 29 2004, 07:09 PM, said:

They literally dig up the remains of people...remains they have no business touching whatsoever.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

And whoever put them there DOES have any business telling us what we can and can't do with the site and the materials, for the rest of time?

#75 tennyson

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 09:12 PM

"And these archaeologists don't sell the stuff they find to museums? "

No they don't. This is where you display a fundamental misunderstanding of how the process of archeology works today and has worked since at least the 1930s in the developed world. What happens is this, an archeologist(usually with a team of graduate students) wants to go somewhere on an expedition to digup some interesting piece of real estate. So the archeologist writes a grant proposal that is then submitted to an authority that provides funds for that sort of thing. It could be a national government, a major university, a museum or other cultural heritage organization like the Smithsonian Institution that provides the grant, then the archeologist gathers a team and goes to the area in question to survey it before they begin digging. At no point in the process is there an quid pro quo to the sponsoring organization between it and the archeologist. The grant is given with the idea of finding something but anything could be found. There is no garantee anything found out in the field will have any intrinsic value at all aside from intellectual or even that the dig will turnup anything at all.It is not a contract between the archelogist and the museum. For every moche burial there are a thousand surveys of ancient Mayan settlement patterns. (This involves digging all al the buried Mayans houses in a certain strata to see how many people lived  in a certain defined area of jungle.)
There of course have been unscrupulous archelogists in the modern era who have sold there finds to private collectors who are willing to provide massive cash incentives(private collectors fuel pretty much all of the defacement of world hertiage sites and out and out graverobbing in the world at the moment, for example the defacement of Ankor Wat to provide pieces of masonry to collectors) but when these people are discovered by the archeological community they are shunned and thier legitimate career is pretty much finished.
But objects bought on the open market are just about useless for archeologists becaue they are divorced from thier historical context. A clay tablet with old Sumerian might be on the market but its real value in terms of historical information is gone since the archeologist would have no idea where it came from although a museum might buy it just to preserve it. Musuems do sometimes buy things on the open market but the people they buy from are not archeologists.
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#76 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 09:32 PM

Delvo, on Nov 29 2004, 07:58 PM, said:

And whoever put them there DOES have any business telling us what we can and can't do with the site and the materials, for the rest of time?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


So if you buried a loved one, you'd have no problem with someone coming along and telling you that they are going to dig up your loved one and take whatever they find? Afterall, according to them, your loved one does not own the possessions you buried with them...they are merely stewards for whomever comes along.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#77 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 09:33 PM

tennyson, on Nov 29 2004, 09:12 PM, said:

"And these archaeologists don't sell the stuff they find to museums? "

No they don't. This is where you display a fundamental misunderstanding of how the process of archeology works today and has worked since at least the 1930s in the developed world. What happens is this, an archeologist(usually with a team of graduate students) wants to go somewhere on an expedition to digup some interesting piece of real estate. So the archeologist writes a grant proposal that is then submitted to an authority that provides funds for that sort of thing. It could be a national government, a major university, a museum or other cultural heritage organization like the Smithsonian Institution that provides the grant, then the archeologist gathers a team and goes to the area in question to survey it before they begin digging. At no point in the process is there an quid pro quo to the sponsoring organization between it and the archeologist. The grant is given with the idea of finding something but anything could be found. There is no garantee anything found out in the field will have any intrinsic value at all aside from intellectual or even that the dig will turnup anything at all.It is not a contract between the archelogist and the museum. For every moche burial there are a thousand surveys of ancient Mayan settlement patterns. (This involves digging all al the buried Mayans houses in a certain strata to see how many people lived  in a certain defined area of jungle.)
There of course have been unscrupulous archelogists in the modern era who have sold there finds to private collectors who are willing to provide massive cash incentives(private collectors fuel pretty much all of the defacement of world hertiage sites and out and out graverobbing in the world at the moment, for example the defacement of Ankor Wat to provide pieces of masonry to collectors) but when these people are discovered by the archeological community they are shunned and thier legitimate career is pretty much finished.
But objects bought on the open market are just about useless for archeologists becaue they are divorced from thier historical context. A clay tablet with old Sumerian might be on the market but its real value in terms of historical information is gone since the archeologist would have no idea where it came from although a museum might buy it just to preserve it. Musuems do sometimes buy things on the open market but the people they buy from are not archeologists.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Fair enough...but then how does the archaeologist make a living? If the only money they get is to provide for the dig? How do they eat? Buy food? a car, ect?
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#78 Shalamar

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 09:39 PM

LotS - Those grants proposals include salaries, also most archeologists are teachers as well - doing digs when the university is out, or taking semesters off, to do a dig.  Many times the archeologist is only out at the dig part of the time, leaving the actual drudge work in the hands of the graduate students.
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#79 DWF

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 09:40 PM

^^^Grants, speeches, writing books. ;)
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#80 tennyson

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 10:10 PM

Others have provided good answers but I guess I can add a little more. If they are affiliated with a university or research group(most reputable archeologists will be affiliated with a university but a few other organizations have them as well.) then they have thier university salary. The grant is a fixed amount of money that is supposed to pay for everything related to the project, including saleries for all participants, paying for local labor, transport, food and the like. Sometimes the grant isn't enough and I've read of expeditions having to supplement thier grant with money out of thier own pocket to keep going. As DWF mentioned a few will write books or give speeches and in the 19th and early 20th century that was how most archeologists paid for everything since thier were no archelogy departments as such until the end of that period.
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