Ethics and Archaeological Praxis

  • Cristóbal Gnecco
  • Dorothy Lippert

Part of the Ethical Archaeologies: The Politics of Social Justice book series (ETHARCHAEOL, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Is There a Global Archaeological Ethics? Canonical Conditions for Discursive Legitimacy and Local Responses

  3. Archaeological Ethics in the Global Arena: Emergences, Transformations, Accommodations

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 257-258

About this book


Restoring the historicity and plurality of archaeological ethics is a task to which this book is devoted; its emphasis on praxis mends the historical condition of ethics. In doing so, it shows that nowadays a multicultural (sometimes also called “public”) ethic looms large in the discipline. By engaging communities “differently,” archaeology has explicitly adopted an ethical outlook, purportedly striving to overcome its colonial ontology and metaphysics. In this new scenario, respect for other historical systems/worldviews and social accountability appear to be prominent. Being ethical in archaeological terms in the multicultural context has become mandatory, so much that most professional, international and national archaeological associations have ethical principles as guiding forces behind their openness towards social sectors traditionally ignored or marginalized by their practices. This powerful new ethics—its newness is based, to a large extent, in that it is the first time that archaeological ethics is explicitly stated, as if it didn’t exist before—emanates from metropolitan centers, only to be adopted elsewhere. In this regard, it is worth probing the very nature of the dominant multicultural ethics in disciplinary practices because (a) it is at least suspicious that at the same time archaeology has tuned up with postmodern capitalist/market needs, and (b) the discipline (along with its ethical principles) is contested worldwide by grass-roots organizations and social movements. Can archaeology have socially committed ethical principles at the same time that it strengthens its relationship with the market and capitalism? Is this coincidence just merely haphazard or does it obey more structural rules? The papers in this book try to answer these two questions by examining praxis-based contexts in which archaeological ethics unfolds.


archaeological practice and ethics capitalism and archaeology community archaeology ethical principles of archaeology ethical principles of archaeology ethics of public archaeology indigenous viewpoints on the practice of archaeology local archaeology local archaeology market archaeology market archaeology multiculturalism and archaeology social accountability and archaeology social accountability of archaeoogy

Editors and affiliations

  • Cristóbal Gnecco
    • 1
  • Dorothy Lippert
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidad del CaucaPopayanColombia
  2. 2.Repatriation OfficeNational Museum of Natural HistoryWashingtonUSA

Bibliographic information