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  • Archaeological Ethics

    Katharina Galor

    Chapter from the book: Galor, K. 2017. Finding Jerusalem: Archaeology between Science and Ideology.


    This chapter focuses on archaeological ethics, scrutinizing current methods and policies of excavation, documentation, and preservation. Controversies such as the excavation of ancient tombs, the trade in antiquities, and the proliferation of fakes and forgeries—and their markets—are analyzed in this context. Since the early 1980s, various associations and societies have established codes of ethics that formulate scientific and ethical standards of archaeological investigations. Several archaeological projects in Jerusalem have been criticized for not following those guidelines. Ethical questions also pertain to commercial aspects of antiquities. According to a law implemented in 1978, the trading of antiquities in Israel is legal, a situation which, according to some, encourages the illegal excavation and looting of antiquities. This activity has also impacted the local market in fakes and forgeries. The flourishing antiquities business, stimulated by sensational “Jewish” and “Christian” discoveries and artifacts, not only boosts the tourist industry but has significant ideological consequences. Finally, further initiatives raising ethical concerns are the excavation, potential desecration, and reburial of human remains in Jerusalem, which have led to heated debates, repeated protests, and occasional violence.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Galor, K. 2017. Archaeological Ethics. In: Galor, K, Finding Jerusalem. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.29.g

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    Additional Information

    Published on March 24, 2017