Trust and archaeological practice

Towards a framework of virtue ethics

Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Thomas J Ferguson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the autumn of 1922, an English archaeologist sat in the damp darkness of an underground tunnel studying by candlelight the seal of the royal necropolis etched into a heavy stone doorway. After years of searching the deserts of Egypt in vain, he hoped, at last, that this was the object of his desire. Feverish with anticipation, the young archaeologist broke through the ancient stone and peered into the gaping space. ‘At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle to flicker’, he would later write, ‘but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold.’ When the archaeologist's companions, burning with curiosity, asked him if he could see anything, he replied in a whisper, ‘Yes, wonderful things.’ Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb is fixed in the public imagination largely because of the spectacular material wealth found with the pharaoh's earthly remains (Carter 1923; Hoving 1978). Surely ‘King Tut’ would not be widely remembered today if Carter had only found a humble grave with a few undecorated ceramic sherds. Although most archaeologists oppose the popular stereotype of object hunter, they have built a professional identity that revolves around the possession and study of things. The museums around the world brimming with artefacts undeniably prove this point (Barringer and Flynn 1998).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages115-130
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780511817656, 0521549426, 9780521840118
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Fingerprint

Archaeologists
Virtue Ethics
Archaeological Practice
Stereotypes
Professional Identity
Hunters
Necropolis
Air
Companionship
Egypt
Darkness
Statue
Wealth
Tutankhamun
Object of Desire
Curiosity
Seal
Artifact
Possession
Anticipation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Colwell-Chanthaphonh, C., & Ferguson, T. J. (2006). Trust and archaeological practice: Towards a framework of virtue ethics. In The Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice (pp. 115-130). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511817656.007

Trust and archaeological practice : Towards a framework of virtue ethics. / Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Chip; Ferguson, Thomas J.

The Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2006. p. 115-130.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Colwell-Chanthaphonh, C & Ferguson, TJ 2006, Trust and archaeological practice: Towards a framework of virtue ethics. in The Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice. Cambridge University Press, pp. 115-130. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511817656.007
Colwell-Chanthaphonh C, Ferguson TJ. Trust and archaeological practice: Towards a framework of virtue ethics. In The Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice. Cambridge University Press. 2006. p. 115-130 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511817656.007
Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Chip ; Ferguson, Thomas J. / Trust and archaeological practice : Towards a framework of virtue ethics. The Ethics of Archaeology: Philosophical Perspectives on Archaeological Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2006. pp. 115-130
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