Ninevah Relief

Archaeology and Contemporary Society

School of Archaeology, Classics and Oriental Studies
University of Liverpool
Session 2003 / 2004
ALGY 399

Internet Handbook 2003 - 2004

Module Co-ordinator

Dr Anthony Sinclair to whom queries, etc., should be sent (Room 1.06 in the Hartley Building Annexe, or telephone 0151-794-4391, or email


To run during Semester 1, 2003 - 2004 Fridays at 11am till 1pm in the Hartley Lecture Theatre in the Hartley Building. This is a level 3 module and can be taken by students in their third year.


Archaeology is not just an academic subject taught and researched in universities. It is also a human practical andeavour that happens within a particular social, professional and political context beyond the 'Ivory Towers'. Archaeology is part of a more general process / industry for interpreting, presenting and owning the past. This has been a boom area in recent years. Other people involved include museums, theme parks and organisations such as the National Trust, as well as indigenous peoples. How do archaeological interpretations affect those offered by others? What are our responsibilities in such interpretations, and do we have a right to claim that our interpretations of the past are better than others? To what extent can we claim to be guardians of the past? We need to consider closely these contexts, if we are to understand our rights, duties and obligations as archaeologists.

In a professional and practical context, archaeology is a discipline and a practice with aims, procedures and problems. At a national level archaeological work and sites and monuments are managed/protected by English Heritage, Historic Scotland, and CADW (Wales). These relatively young organisations determine which sites receive protection, and the allocation of government money for funding rescue archaeology. In Britain and the U.S.A., however, most archaeological work now happens prior to building development or landscaping, for which an archaeological impact assessment is currently an important part of the planning process. Such work is undertaken by archaeological companies that submit a tender (a price) for the work they propose to do, in competition with other companies. Development companies are obliged to take archaeology into account in any work that they propose, and this means that they can be liable for funding any necessary work.

Learning Aims and Objectives

It is the intention of this module to introduce students to the practical and ethical context in which most archaeological and heritage work takes place. The first part of the module will examine the ethical side of archaeological work and the heritage industry. It will focus on the problems of the ownership of the past and how archaeologists and museums should treat the historical and archaeological remains of other countries and other social groups. The second part will look at the professional and practical application of archaeology in Britain today. It will examine the nature of the destructive threat towards the archaeological record, as well as the legislative framework for preserving archaeological remains. It will also consider the rise of professional archaeological bodies. Comparisons are made with the practice of archaeology in Britain and the USA. This module provides an essential background to those thinking of pursuing a career in archaeology.

Additionally, for those not familiar with the internet, this course will familiarise you with the sorts of resources that are available and encourage your use of them.

Lecture Topics

Ethical and Political Issues in Archaeology and Heritage
Human Remains and the Issue of Reburial
The Kennewick Man Saga
The Antiquities Trade and the Acquisition of Cultural Treasures
Issues in the Repatriation of Cultural Treasures
The UNESCO World Heritage List
The British Schools of Archaeology Abroad
The National Trust
The Structure of Archaeological Practice in the UK
Archaeology in Britain: the basic structure
The Destruction of the Archaeological Record, and Legal Protection
Protection of Archaeology through the Planing Process
The Institute of Field Archaeologists and the Professionalisation of Archaeology
The Future of Research and Public Archaeology in Britain


There will be four tutorial sessions with this course. The first two sessions will be concerned with the broader issues of the role of archaeology and material artifacts in society. The final two sessions today concern the practice of archaeology in Britain today.

Students will be divided up into smaller tutorial groups and asked to sign up for a tutorial time at the lecture in week 2.

These sessions will take place in weeks 3, 5, 9 and 11 of the first semester.

  1. The Reburial Issue - the problems of Ownership of Human Remains - week beginning 13th October
  2. The Antiquities Trade and the Return of Cultural Treasures - week beginning 27th October
  3. National Importance and the Scheduling of Ancient Monuments - week beginning 24th October
  4. The Influence of PPG 16 on Archaeology in Britain - week beginning 8th December

Module Assessment

Course work 30%, Exam 70% of the marks for the total course.

The exam comprises two sections; (1) the structure and practice of archaeology in Britain today, (2) general debates in the interpretation and management of the archaeological heritage. Students will have to answer two questions from a choice of 6 (1 question must be answered from each section). The exam will be at the end of the first semester.

Assessed course work comprises one essay of approximately 3000 to 3500 words length. The deadline for this essay is November 21st, 2003. Marked essays will be returned to students at the lecture on Friday 12th December. The topics for the assessed coursework are to be found below.

As the essay for this module forms part of the overall assessment, you should submit TWO copies, one of which will be returned to you and the other retained for submission to the External Examiner. The School has a receipt system for assessed work so attach a completed form to your essays, making sure your name, the module code and tutor’s name are clear. You will receive a dated receipt which you should retain as it is your responsibility to produce it if necessary as proof of submission. Your essay must be submitted by the deadline given or late penalties will apply &emdash; i) work submitted by 4.0 pm on the 3rd day following the deadline will incur a penalty of 5 marks ii) work submitted between 4.0 pm on the 3rd day after the deadline and 4.0pm on the 7th day after the deadline will incur a penalty of 10 marks and iii) work submitted after 4.0 pm on the 7th day following the deadline will be given a mark of zero. Only under exceptions circumstances, notably medical problems, will extensions be granted and requests for an extension must be submitted in writing to the module organiser as early as possible. If approved, you will receive written agreement to the extension and a new submission deadline.

Assessment Criteria

The pass mark for the module is 40%, with a 'distinction' (1st class) being achieved with an average mark over 70%. The University has set out a series of general criteria for the marking of exams, assessed essays and dissertations. They are listed on the back of the School's handbook for students. Guidance notes for the presentation of essays is contained in the School handbooks.

Students are also reminded that the University does not permit plagiarism and collusion in exams and coursework, and penalties will be imposed if either is shown to be the case. Activities which constitute plagiarism and collusion are set out in the current edition of the undergraduate handbook.

Assessed Essay Titles

Essays should be of approximately 3000 to 3500 words length. The deadline for the submission of the essay is November 21st, 2003. Marked essays will be returned to students at the lecture on Friday 12th December. Choose 1 title from those listed below. Relevant reading for these topics is to be found on the appropriate pages of the internet web resources for this module.

  1. In what ways does the continued court battle over the repatriation of the Kennewick Man skeleton illustrate the strengths and the weaknesses of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act? How would you make amendments to the act to help solve such disputes in the future?
  2. In what ways will the ratification of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural property affect the activities of those people involved in the curation, excavation, exhibition and sale of antiquities in the UK?
  3. Undertake an assessment of a museum display, or heritage attraction in Liverpool (or another place following consultation with the module director). The purpose of this assessed work is to encourage students to think critically about the assumptions made and the problems encountered in the presentation of the past in Britain today. The essay should include (1) a description of the display, attraction, (2) a critical assessment of the assumptions made and any biases that you feel are present, and (3) an assessment of ways in which these assumptions / biases might be addressed.
  4. A topic of your choice to be negotiated with the module co-ordinator. Given the range of issues covered by this module I am happy to consider other topics suggested by students so long as they do not clash with those chosen for the January 2004 examination.

Library Resources for the Module

The resources for this module include both reading in the library and importantly information that is available through the Internet. A series of basic books and internet addresses are set out below, more detailed sources will be noted on the lecture handouts. Students are also reminded that the major broadsheet newspapers have archaeology / heritage correspondents, and topical issues about the latest archaeological finds or heritage issues in general are often to be found in these newspapers. It is worth looking at these papers to keep up to date. Important clippings will be posted on the noticeboard outside the Hartley Lecture Theatre.

Basic Reading in Short Loan Collection

Ames, M. 1992. Cannibal Tours and Glass Boxes; the anthropology of museums. Vancouver, UBC Press

Chippindale, C. 1990. Who Owns Stonehenge ? London, Batsford.

Cleere, H. 1984. Approaches to the management of the archaeological heritage. Cambridge University Press.

Cleere, H. 1991. Archaeological heritage management in the modern world London. Unwin Hyman.

Cooper, M. et al. eds. 1995 Managing Archaeology. London, Routledge.

Darvill, T.C. 1987 Ancient Monuments in the Countryside: an Archaeological Management Review. London, H.B.M.C.

Darvill, T.C. and Fulton, A. 1998. The Monuments at Risk Survey of England 1995. Bournmouth University / English Heritage

Darvill, T.C. and Russel, B. 2002. Archaeology after PPG16: archaeological investigations in England 1990 - 1999. Research Report 10. Bournemouth University / English Heritage

Fowler, P. 1994. The past in contemporary society: then, now. London, Routledge.

Greenfield, J. 1995. The return of cultural treasures. (2nd edition) Cambridge, University Press.

E. Hooper-Greenhill 1992 Museums and the shaping of knowledge. London, Routledge

E. Hooper-Greenhill 1994. Museums and their visitors. London, Routledge

Hunter, J. and I. Ralston 1993. Archaeological Resource management in the UK. Alan Sutton/IFA)

Layton, R. 1989. Conflict in the archaeology of living traditions. London, Unwin Hyman.

Walker Tubb. K. 1995. Cultural Antiquities: Trade or Betrayed. London, Archetype Press.

Further specific reading accompanies the individual sections accessable from ths page.

Link to the ALGY 399 Sydney Jones Library Reading List

Student Resource Centre

Copies of a number of important documents can be found in the Student Resource Centre in 12 Abercromby Square. These documents include copies of legislation such as NAGPRA, planning documents such as PPG15 and PPG 16, UNESCO conventions, as well as government reports and heritage organization publications. Documents that you will find in the Resource Centre are listed below.

NAGPRA and Reburial

1990. Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act

2002. Magistrate Judge Jelderks 'Opinion and Order' in the Kennewick Man case

2003. Jones, P. and Stapp, D. An Anthropological Perspective on Magistrate Jelderks' Kennewick Man Decision High Plains Applied Anthropologist 23: 1 pp1-16.

English Heritage

1991. Exploring our Past

1995. The Monuments at Risk Survey: summary report

1998. Research Frameworks

2002. The Power of Place

2003. The State of the Historic Environment

Department of Culture, Media and Sport

2001. The Historic Environment: A Force for our Future

2001. Building on PAT 10: Progress Report on Social Inclusion

2002. People and Places: Social Inclusion Policy for the Built and Historic Environment

2003. English Heritage: Quinquennial Review

Institute of Field Archaeologists

Code of Conduct Code of Practice

The Archaeological Profession

2001. Profiling the Profession

2003. Kenneth Aitcheson annd Rachel Edwards. Archaeology Labour: Market Intelligence - Profiling the Profession 2002/2003

Other Government Documents

2000. Report of the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Illicit Trade

2003. The Current State of Archaeology in the United Kingdom. First Report of the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group

UNESCO and the European Union

1954. Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

1970. Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property

1992. European Convention on the Protecton of The Archaeological Heritage

Antiquities Documents

2000. Stealing History: the Illicit Trade in Cultural Material

Resources Available through the Internet

The most up to date resources for this module are available only over the internet. These include home pages for the major heritage organisations in Britain, the USA as well as the United Nations. From these pages you can gain access to major reports, pieces of government legislation. There are also on-line versions of some of the major heritage legislation and directives for the USA and the United Nations. WWW links where appropriate will be found embedded in the various pages of this site. A brief set of links to the major sites, however, is set out below.

Organisations Associated with Heritage in the UK

English Heritage
Historic Scotland
CADW: Welsh Historic Monuments
The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments for Scotland
The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments for Wales
The Institute of Field Archaeologists
The Council for British Archaeology
The National Trust (for England and Wales)
The National Trust for Scotland
The British Academy
Current Archaeology
The Archaeology Data Service

Organisations in the USA and elsewhere concerned with archaeology / heritage

The National Parks Service
Society for American Archaeology
The Archaeological Institute of America
Register of Professional Archaeologists

International Organisations

UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation)
International Council On Museums and Sites
International Council on Museums

Gateway Sites to Archaeology and Museums

In addition to the Council for Btitish Archaeololgy site, there are two major gateway sites to archaeology and heritage matters. ARGE is the archaeology gateway site for Europe. ARCHNET is a world site. ARCHNET was in a state of non-updated limbo for a while but is now based in Arizone and is slowly being updated. The 24 Hour Museumsite and the Museums Documentation Association Museums Documentation Associationprovide quick links to major museums in the UK and abroad. The Council for British Archaeology Guide to Archaeology Online in the UK is a very good place to start looking for web sites for archaeological organisations in the UK

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