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- Reading the article, I was somewhat surprised. While it does discuss a controversy, I found it in no way provoking. I largely agreed with the article’s conclusions and found it very difficult to find a point to base my essay on. However, after some reflection, I realized that while I agreed with the conclusion, I disagreed with the core argument the article presented.
- The article’s fundamental point is that it’s important to not alienate avocational archaeologists because they are critical in the fight for site protection. The article claims that, since there are many more avocational archaeologists than professional archaeologists, they are in a much better position to advocate for site protection. However, avocational archaeological organizations are much less prestigious than professional archaeological organizations. The avocational archaeologists could easily end up being perceived (or even maliciously painted!) as bleeding heart hippies, whereas it’s much more difficult to dismiss professional archaeologists in that manner. Indeed, it’s possible that they could even be a danger to the cause by causing the entire idea to be viewed as bleeding-heart hippie nonsense.
- The article is also assuming that the avocational archaeologists would truly care about site preservation. Certainly most would claim to, but it’s hard to imagine many would put any real effort into advocating for site preservation. They have not dedicated their professional lives to archaeology like the professional archaeologists, and much of their free time may be taken up by the actual avocational archaeology. Many of them may very well not have the time. The number of avocational archaeologists who are both willing and capable to put serious effort into advocating for site preservation may well be significantly less than the number of professional archaeologists willing to do so.
- Of course, this does not mean that there is no reason to work with avocational archaeologists. As the article says, they are valuable sources for gumshoe surveys. And their collections may provides valuable insight, if properly documented.
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