Virtue ethics and the practice of history: Native Americans and archaeologists along the San Pedro Valley of Arizona

Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Thomas J Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


For nearly a century archaeologists have endeavored to illuminate 12,000 years of Native American history in the San Pedro Valley of southeastern Arizona. Although this scholarship has established an essential foundation, it is limited by the construction of history through the singular interpretive framework of western scientific practice. The Tohono O'odham, Hopi, Zuni and Western Apache peoples all maintain oral traditions that provide alternative voices about the lives of their ancestors. This article examines the ethical environment of a collaborative ethnohistory project, which sought to document Native American histories and adjoin humanistic understandings of the past with scientific findings. We argue that a Virtue Ethics approach to the social context of this research offers sound moral guidance to a flourishing ethic of collaboration. Using this work as a case study, we aim to extend the available research models for future anthropological inquiry and broaden the ethical framework of historical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004



  • Archaeological ethics
  • Collaboration
  • Ethnohistory
  • Hopi
  • San Pedro Valley
  • Tohono O'odham
  • Western Apache
  • Zuni

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology

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