Free Essay. The Ethics of Anthropology and Archaeology

Published: 2023-03-29
Free Essay. The Ethics of Anthropology and Archaeology
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Anthropology Profession Ethical dilemma
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1100 words
10 min read

People or a group engaging in professional or business activities require certain principles to ensure mutual benefits as well as equity and equality in the engagements. Professional ethics are the pillars of these principles governing such relations. Ethical behaviors and approaches vary depending on the profession. Anthropology and archaeology are examples of such disciplines whose foundations lie in the stability of ethical practices. Anthropology and archaeology are fields that rely mostly on research practices. In research practices, an anthropologist or archaeologists interact with different groups of people both in the present and past situations that they study. Therefore, they encounter a variety of different complex professional situations. The interaction in the discipline, colleagues, and the subject of study requires ethics in anthropology and archaeology to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts in the profession. Ethics also provides a streamlined approach for the occupation to prevent cases of ethical dilemmas. The research paper examines the ethics of anthropology and archaeology in depth.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

An examination of the professional ethics of anthropology and archaeology indicates that the professions take a more reactive approach than a proactive one. Nevertheless, ethical concerns emanate in most cases when controversial situations or scandals are surrounding anthropology. Unethical cases in the profession are usually in connection with clandestine research reports. An example is the anthropology reports on the medieval wars. However, there have been numerous cases of ethical issues around the economic and political atmosphere leading to an ethical dilemma situation. It is worth noting that the ethical and moral conduct of an archaeologist or anthropologist essentially remains at personal levels. It seems to entirely be an aspect of personal morality, ethical beliefs, and conscious of the institutional guidelines and codes of ethics. Insert picture here.

The primary professional responsibility and ethical practices in anthropology and archaeology lie on the relations between an anthropologist or archaeologist and their study sample (Nicholas, George, and Julie Hollowell, 75-80). An anthropologist studies present or past events by gathering information from the people or archaeological objects that they study. Therefore, their primary obligation is to ensure that they put the people the study first in all cases. In the event of a conflicting interest, they should ensure that the people and objects that they study come first. The ethics of anthropology demands that anthropologist or archaeologist must channel their power and resources to protect the physical, societal, and emotional aspects of the people they study. According to Lydon, Jane, and Uzma Z. Rizvi, an anthropologist, should protect and honor the ignominy and confidentiality of the people that aid their study. Thus, the ethics of anthropology dictates that anthropology should ensure the safety and privacy of the objects acquired for the study. Nevertheless, cases where anthropologists and archaeologists have to gather information from various informants requires them to maintain the confidentiality of the informant. The informant can either chose to be known or remain anonymous in the study.

Just like any other profession, anthropology and archaeology provide services in the form of information for public consumption. Numerous scholars and researchers all over the world rely on archaeological reports for information necessary for their research and learning processes. Anthropologists also provide information that is essential for studying past events, thereby educating people. Therefore, the ethics of anthropology sees them as the people solely responsible to the public who are the consumers of their efforts. As a result, they owe the audience the entire truth as they disseminate the findings of their research. They should not be discriminative in communicating the findings of the anthropology research work. Nevertheless, they should also intentionally falsify their results as this would lead to inaccuracy in the information provided to the public.

Anthropologists and archaeologists study the ways of life and the different aspects of people that affect human beings. The ethical practices of their profession require a thorough understanding of understanding people. They must be positive when representing their research reports acquired in their professional expertise. They must ensure that whatever their findings contribute to the available information adheres to an "adequate definition of reality". This provides an opportunity for where public opinion is based.

Ethics in anthropology and archaeology essentially replicates the general moral philosophies of identifying the good and bad sides of the practice to be able to embrace the right side and avoid the wrong sides that would jeopardize the professionalism in this discipline. According to Gonzalez-Ruibal's argument, anthropologists and archaeologists have a responsibility to carry out practices that enhances the excellent reputation of the practitioners as well as the discipline (74). As a result, they should uphold moral traditions such as not taking part in secret research as well as the research that would lead to misleading or controversial events that would negatively affect the profession. Therefore, ethics requires that the anthropologist or archaeologist avoid clandestine studies to ensure professionalism in practice.

Professional ethics applicable in other fields are also vital in the field of anthropology and archaeology. These are professional fields that carry out practices such as recruiting and hiring. The field also involves interaction between the professionals and the general public. Therefore, ethical traditions of employing, retaining, and advancement of anthropologists and archaeologist governs this profession. No cases of exclusionary practices are allowed in the profession either in terms of a sexual basis, marital status, racial discrimination, social class or status, religious affiliation, ethnicity, sexual orientation, among other forms of unethical professional practices (Blau, Soren, and Douglas, 70-94). The ethics of anthropology also requires practitioners to refrain from conveying and repel the usage of irrelevant information about professional performance.

In conclusion, ethical professionalism and principles are essential in the field of anthropology and archaeology. The field entails a lot of research and studies involving severe ethical concerns. A set of policies is, therefore, necessary to increase awareness of the ethical concerns facing the field. Some of the ethical issues in the field include privacy and confidentiality to all the parties and materials involved, fairness in research and reports preparation, and openness, among others. Nevertheless, the professional ethics of other fields are essential and relevant in the field of anthropology and archaeology. The ethical guidelines and principles in anthropology and archaeology are vital in resolving any professional issues.

Works Cited

Blau, Soren, and Douglas H. Ubelaker. "Forensic anthropology and archaeology: introduction to a broader view." Handbook of forensic anthropology and archaeology. Routledge, 2016. 21-26.

Gonzalez-Ruibal, Alfredo. "Ethics of archaeology." Annual Review of Anthropology 47 (2018): 345-360.

Lydon, Jane, and Uzma Z. Rizvi, eds. Handbook of postcolonial archaeology. Vol. 3. Routledge, 2016.

Nicholas, George, and Julie Hollowell. "Ethical challenges to postcolonial archaeology: The legacy of scientific colonialism." Archaeology and Capitalism. Routledge, 2016. 59-82.

Cite this page

Free Essay. The Ethics of Anthropology and Archaeology. (2023, Mar 29). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism