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Archaeologists in the frontline
#11
I doubt it.......................I think the gap between us and 'other animals' is smaller than we'd like to admit.

Who's to say what other animals are thinking or understanding?
I find it fascinating to think about, though know little about it.

Read one article about a tiny problem solving spider, and have seen dolphins playing with toys, planning ahead and using reciprocal altruism (on TV) and a chimp baby out-thinking a human baby in a puzzle test.
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#12
Interesting topic. Am unsure as to what reminding British forces would achieve though as a hugely disproportionate amount of damage to heritage assets worldwide does not involve British forces. Issues with Babylon in particular relate to the behaviour of US forces if memory serves me correctly. There are some nations who get away with destroying cultural sites consistently and some who do so as a form of cleansing. There are plenty of academic institutions (and a number of commercial units) out there who have inflicted damage equivalent to that seen at Babylon on a daily basis. As an issue, I think it warrants discussion within far wider frames of reference. If we are talking about protecting assets from damage during conflict then it follows that we place value upon those assets. Why is damage inflicted by a developer any less of a threat? Are we suggesting that when damage is done by someone in khaki that it is a crime but when inflicted by someone wearing a suit it is progress?
It is virtually impossible to call armed forces to account for the murder of tens of thousands of civilians in a modern world where governments are shielded by Teflon shoulders and I have to say that until we have put a stop to that, I can`t really take this concept seriously. I can think of at least two nations who deliberately destroy cultural heritage and have done so for at least 30 years. One of them believes that they are exempt from international law and the other is desperate to join the EU. The former continues to avoid prosecution and the latter will likely be admitted to the European family very soon. Any archaeologists out there who volunteer to be conflict umpires? A kind of tank-battle watching brief?Big Grin
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#13
I`ve just remembered seeing a pant-wetting news article where the reporter was interviewing the MOD Rep on Salisbury Plains who was busily reassuring the viewers of their care when an armoured vehicle (a Warrior) tore across a barrow in the background of the shot.......
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#14
A bewildering topic on many levels!

I seem to remember the "archaeology" brief on range days on the Plain...don't dig on the mounds (with helpful signs displaying a red line through a picture of a shovel); don;t use them as OPs, don't park your tank on them for a better view and remember where they are when it's dark...

All sound stuff and luckily the majority of the "good" archaeology isn't in the impact area. Then again, if there was any archaeology in the impact area, it ain't there now!

I don't think World Peace would save ancient monuments as long as you have people with enough money to buy antiquities. I have heard of "loot to order" but of course have no evidence whatsoever...but archaeology in the East (Middle or otherwise) only really seems to be at risk when the West gets anywhere near it. And if stand off weapons and long range bombers aren't weapons of mass destruction, then what are they?

And of course there is NOTHING to stop the local dictator/government putting troops and weapons in and amongst World Heritage sites (when they run out of hospitals) just to stop them being blown to bits by the enemy...but that doesn't always work. A very dangerous game of bluff.

Can't really see what archaeolgists can do except support lobbies and make everyone aware of ALL the World's Heritage at risk - and this includes bits the Taliban don't like and destroy with no compunction on religious grounds.

But I think the point is well made that some commercial archaeology companies are just as guilty of archaeological vandalism as the odd uniformed person invading...
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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