Archaeologists State Your “Beefs” to Collectors Here

Most professional archaeologists harbor various levels of frustration with collectors of Native American artifacts and historic-era artifacts. This page offers professional archaeologists an opportunity to sound off to artifact collectors about all of the assorted “beefs” you have with them and their behavior. Tell us why you are so upset at artifact collectors, why you do not trust them, and why you do not like to associate with them or cooperate with them.  Give some specific examples and personal experiences with artifact collectors that have really ruffled your feathers. Any specific subject you want to address is game, and the sky is the limit. You can do it as a numbered list.  You can do it in paragraphs.  It is all up to you.  We want to hear from you.  Give us your own personal and freewheeling mind dump.  However, we do insist that you avoid libel, slander, and the use of real names.  You may do so in the Leave a Reply box below.  Have at it!!!

The following is an Example of a Professional Archaeologist Beef of the kind or type that we would like to see professional archaeologists write into the Leave a Reply box below.  Your beefs can address any subject of concern with regard to artifact collecting and professional archaeology.  Your questions can be either short or long.  That is all up to you.

Example of a Professional Archaeologist Beef

I have visited a number of intact archaeological sites that have been riddled with random “moon crater” holes left behind by collectors who insist on digging for artifacts rather than for information. Collectors may get a few artifacts from their random holes, but their digging in those spots erases the archaeological information written in the soil at those spots.  It is the exact same thing as highlighting a sentence on a written page of text in a Microsoft Word file and then clicking the “Delete” button on your computer. The archaeological information at those spots is gone forever, and no archaeologist will ever be able to read what was written in the soil there.  If the crater holes cover 75 percent of a small site, then 75 percent of the site is rendered nearly worthless for future archaeological research.  A collector may get what she wants out of the site, but her digging takes away our ability to use the site in future research.  We archaeologists often wonder whether diggers are just pursuing personal greed for artifacts at any cost (no matter who or what gets hurt) or whether the collectors who do such digging are simply and innocently unaware that they are destroying forever the precious archaeological information written in the soil.


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