December 28, 2012

Archaeopolitics

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:49 am

A brief post from Martin over at Aardvarchaeology: Archaeology Should Resist Newswire Relevance

n recent years there’s been increasing numbers of archaeological research projects that reference climate change as part of what they want to study. This is at the same time wise and a little silly. It’s wise because science should serve the concerns of society, and because if you want research funding it’s a good idea to latch onto themes that people outside of your narrow speciality care about. But it’s also a little silly because it’s such transparent pandering to the funding bodies. I was taught about the threat of the greenhouse effect as a kid back in the 80s, and no archaeologist cared about climate back then. All in all, though, I think this climate orientation in recent archaeology is largely innocuous. We’re all under-funded and we follow the money.

Some good comments as well. I think he’s a bit overplaying the “no archaeologist cared about climate back then” card, although I think I understand where he’s coming from. Yes, many if not most archaeologists have been deeply involved in climate reconstruction for decades and it’s played an important role in archaeological explanation, so his statement is, on its face, false. However, the larger point I think he’s making is that archys have been tending to bring up “climate change” far too often given the recent (pun intended) climate in research fields these days. Let’s face it, you throw “climate change” into your research and the grants will come far more readily, as will the publications and popular media articles. That and anthropologists, being a vastly left-skewed population politically, are going to jump on the bandwagon anyhow.

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