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TV Shows Promote the Looting of Archaeological Sites

on 15 March 2012

Spike TV and National Geographic Channel are glamorizing the looting of American archaeological sites. 
A lawsuit has already been filed against National Geographic after illegal digging on state land for the "Diggers: Montana Juice" episode.
Lamoka projectile points from central New York
made from quartz and flint.
PAR via Wikimedia Commons

"On 20 March, Spike TV will premiere a new show called American Digger, while a show called Diggerson the National Geographic Channel made its debut 28 February. Both shows "promote and glorify the looting and destruction of archaeological sites," Society for American Archaeology (SAA) President William F. Limp wrote in a message posted earlier this week to the SAA listserv.
'Two hundred years ago, archaeology was a treasure hunt—finding fabulous things for museum collections,' says Lekson. 'But we learned long ago that archaeological sites were really books to be read, pages of history. We can learn a great deal about pasts we would otherwise never know, by studying sites themselves and artifacts (simple or spectacular) in their original contexts at sites. When treasure hunters loot sites, ripping artifacts out of the ground, we lose any chance of understanding context—what was with what, its date, how it was used, what it can tell us about history—all so somebody can have a trinket on their mantelpiece.'
  • "Archaeologists Protest 'Glamorization' of Looting on TV" on  Science Magazine
  • "'Diggers,' 'American Digger' TV Shows Said To Promote Looting Of Archaeological Sites" on  Huffington Post


About the Author

I'm Melanie, the founder of BermudaQuest and an archaeology undergraduate at the University of New Mexico. I love writing about ancient and modern cultures. My goal is to make information about our origins available to everyone [in simple English!]


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Banner created by Melanie Magdalena.

Images courtesy of: Ricardo Liberato (Pyramids of Giza), Aurbina (Moai), Maria Reiche (Nazca), Zunkir (Gobekli Tepe), Bjorn Christian Torrissen (Chichen Itza), Gareth Wiscombe (Stonehenge).

Images were released to the public and/or licensed under Creative Commons.


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