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Problems In Archaeological Fieldwork And Excavation

            Archaeology is well known for being a field of remarkable detail and accuracy. Much like surgeons, an archaeologist must utilize great amounts of precision, as not to taint data collected (Joukowsky 1980). This being considered, would you let a prison inmate perform your medical operation, even while under the supervision of the surgeon? Of course you wouldn't. However, some of the problems experienced today in archaeology are the " culmination of a long term trend in which the practice of excavation is seen as low-skilled, capable of being carried out by low-paid workers, volunteers, prison inmates, or the unemployed (Berggren and Hodder 2003)." .
             Historically, the fieldwork performed in archaeology, including excavation, " has a long trajectory (Berggren and Hodder 2003)," in Britain and the United States. However, as stricter legislation was passed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, fieldwork became more systematic (Berggren and Hodder 2003). Despite the changes in field archaeology over the past one-hundred years, the methodology of excavation has not changed. This is relatively significant, considering that nearly all of what we know of ancient, dormant cultures has come from an archaeological find or inference. How can " an objective account of information (Jones 2002)- possibly be provided in the field report if those with the most knowledge are furthest away from those collecting the data (Berggren and Hodder 2003)? With the majority of the decisions and priorities being left to the site director, those in direct contact with the site are the ones unable to make decisions (Berggren and Hodder 2003). .
             Although anthropology is a science, it is also a humanistic endeavor (Park 2003). However, this does not mean that the methodology employed by field excavators should be anything short of scientific. Although, in the last twenty years, most unskilled laborers and students were barred from the archaeological excavation sites, being unable to compete with the increasing number of archaeologists present, many other problems emerge (Berggren and Hodder 2003).

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