Wednesday, June 8, 2011

None of their Business II

The AIA has issued a manifesto condemning the Smtihsonian for planning to exhibit artifacts from the Belitung shipwreck. See

As stated previously on this blog, the archaeological community has been fond of saying at CPAC meetings and elsewhere that it is no business of others to lecture source countries on how to manage their cultural resources.

But, apparently, all that goes out the window when the AIA hierarchy issues pronouncements about public-private partneships to salvage wrecks.

For more, see and

For the Smithsonian's view of the controversy, see

1 comment:

Dave Welsh said...

Everything in fact does seem to go out the window when archaeologists wish to influence what others say and do. They know no limits as to what is "their business," just as they know no limits regarding what they venture to say about things they know very little about, and which they do not research before spouting their opinions. Archaeologie ueber alles!

I have never met anyone in any other so-called "scientific" discipline whose academic approach was so careless, irresponsible, disorganized and utterly devoid of scientific rigor as that of most of the archaeologists I have encountered.

In my opinion this "discipline" does not in any way qualify to be considered a science, and thus deserves no place in universities, still less in influencing government policies.

Finally there is much confusion as to who deserves the title of "archaeologist." Many venture to claim that distinction. Some, despite issues regarding the lack of scientific discipline in this field of interest, have done very good and carefully researched work that conforms in every respect to the standards of scientific rigor in other disciplines.

Others impress me, and other scientifically inclined observers, as charlatans and among these imposters few are such egregious poseurs as Paul Barford, a British expatriate in Warsaw, Poland.

So far as I can discern Mr. Barford lacks a doctorate (the standard qualification for one to be considered an archaeologist) and he has not been employed in archaeology for twenty years, but despite that he poses as an "archaeologist" when he posts to his virulent anticollecting blog. In reality, he is presently a self employed translator and before that, was a taxicab driver.

Whatever involvement Mr. Barford has today with archaeology appears to be that of an unpaid volunteer, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but still does not qualify anyone to pose as a professor of morality to the rest of the world.

I suppose that I must protest that I have nothing against translators or taxicab drivers, however I do not understand why one of these worthy vocations also qualifies one to be an archaeologist, whatever one's prior education or training might be.

Dave Welsh