Anthropologists Object to Reality Show on Archaeology
March 19, 2012

Spike TV has a new reality show, "American Digger," that debuts this week and anthropologists are not likely to be fans. The show is described this way in its press materials: "This new unscripted original series follows former professional wrestler turned modern day relic hunter Ric Savage, as he and his team from American Savage target areas such as battlefields and historic sites in the hopes of striking it rich and capitalizing on unearthing and selling bits of American history. The only thing standing in their way are the homeowners themselves, who Savage must convince to allow them to dig up their property using state-of-the-art metal detectors and heavy-duty excavation equipment. What artifacts they find, they sell for a substantial profit, but not before negotiating a deal to divide the revenue with the property owners."

The American Anthropological Association has sent a letter to Spike TV calling on it to withdraw or change the show. Association members are "deeply disturbed" about the show, the letter says, because its message seems to be that "it is okay to loot and destroy archaeological sites for monetary gain." The letter goes on to say that the show "will undermine critical public support for the protection, preservation and interpretation of the archaeological record."

 

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