New PDF release: Images and Power: Rock Art and Ethics

By Polly Schaafsma

​Ethics and Rock artwork: photographs and gear addresses the distinct ways that moral concerns pertain to rock artwork study in the higher context of the archaeological moral debate. Marks on stone, with their social and spiritual implications, supply upward thrust to certain moral issues in the scholarly company as assorted perceptions among students and local american citizens are encountered in regard to worldviews, strategies of area, time, and within the interpretation of the imagery itself. This discourse addresses concerns akin to the conflicting paradigms of oral traditions and archaeological veracity, differing rules approximately landscapes during which rock paintings happens, the intrusion of “desired knowledge”, and the way the previous could be robbed via altering interpretations and values on each side. Case reports are awarded in regard to shamanism and war-related imagery. additionally addressed are matters surrounding questions of artwork, aesthetics, and appropriation of images via outsiders. total, this discourse makes an attempt to explain issues of competition among Euro-American students and local americans in order that we will greater realize the origins of ameliorations and therefore advertise larger mutual knowing in those endeavors.

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Extra resources for Images and Power: Rock Art and Ethics

Sample text

To illustrate some of the problems inherent to consultations with tribal groups, I review here a rather normal and relatively noncontentious example of the consultation process in regard to rock art that does not involve any extreme issues. Nevertheless, it has several dimensions worthy of consideration here. The case in point is a study of Basketmaker rock art in the Falls Creek Shelters on the National Register of Historic Places in Southwestern Colorado (Powell et al. 1998). This particular example was not done in conjunction with NAGPRA but in accordance with the Department of Interior standards and guidelines (36 CFR Part 68) for sites on the National Register with reference to the Historic Preservation Act.

C. Escher-like transformation from scientist to social worker, are not scientific standards subject to compromise? Where do ethical considerations reside? On other ethical fronts, what if Western cultural values deny what is portrayed in rock art, and this denial is used as a tool of cultural imperialism? And finally, what if native people pirate the imagery of each other, thus engendering another kind of cultural aggression? Before discussing in more details these topics pertaining to interpretation, it would be helpful first to review briefly some of the history of rock art research and the theoretical foundations in which past research has been Interpretive Approaches 23 grounded.

Morally problematic in these cases is that the voice of the scholar/consultant is often suppressed and viewed as less than equal, in favor of the native claimants. Such cases avert solutions based in objectivity or eschew ethical the solutions that NAGPRA and other institutions were designed to provide. Impassioned advocates of NAGPRA argue that the lack of consultations with the appropriate heirs is said to alienate descendants from their heritage, thus disenfranchising them. They accuse archaeologists of stealing “culture, language, images and things,” to promote their careers, describing them as cavalier and doing “great harm” (Bendremer and Richman 2006:114).

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