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Ethics - Archaeological Finds

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Kuenn, Mar 17, 2021.

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What to do with a new archaeological find when exploring?

  1. Report the find to the authorities ASAP.

    22.2%
  2. Finish the discovery phase and then bring in the authorities.

    33.3%
  3. Keep quiet, take friends, report later.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. It's our little secret.

    44.4%
  5. Other? (specify)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Dilemma Poll
    What to do when encountering this scenario?

    Situation
    You're checking out a new lead and drop in on a pretty respectable find. About half way through the discovery phase you encounter a scene of historical importance. More than just an artifact or two, it's a significant archaeological site.

    (For the record, I advocate always doing the right thing in reverence to the past and leave it undisturbed.)
  2. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Let's walk through the options.
    You report it. The BLM or FS loots the site, stores everything in a warehouse, and then loses the records.
    You tell friends. They talk. Someone loots it.
    You keep it secret. Someone else finds it. They talk. It ends up getting looted.
    I'd say enjoy the moment and don't tell a soul, including your mother. Then treasure the memory and never go back to see the wreckage the looters leave behind.

    If it's really, truly, significant, spend the time and trouble to find the right archaeologist to loot it. At least then the knowledge lives on. If it's in a canyon, it's probably Anasazi and unlikely to be archaeologically significant, no matter how impressive. But if it's Paleo ... it needs to be done up right.
    Kuenn likes this.
  3. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    And then the federal agency closes access to the area permanently.
    Kuenn likes this.
  4. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Oh, yeah. I'd tell everyone, including my friends, that that particular lead didn't pan out. Totally not worth it. Dry hole.
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Such cynicism, in one so young.... (sad)
    hank moon likes this.
  6. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    True that! It's a sad day when your mother is scooping your finds.

    Joking aside, I respect the distrust that sometimes exists when pulling in the "authorities". Been on both sides of that equation and the trust void is a two-way street. That said, I've had pretty good experience in the past and have found that most are willing to compromise...most. Bottom line, so long as you don't pinpoint the location before you build the relationship of trust....you hold the Ace card!
    Tumbleweed and ratagonia like this.
  7. gajslk

    gajslk

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    I earned it. And thanks. :)
    ratagonia likes this.
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