Encyclopedia of Archaeology, Second Edition - Archaeology and Human Rights

Elsevier, Encyclopedia of Archaeology, Second Edition, Volume 1, 2024, Pages 535-538
Alarcón-Jiménez A.

This entry discusses the relationship between human rights and archaeology. We discuss that, although many researchers deal with this subject, human rights are not a research field by itself as part of the archaeologist's training. It is, then, mainly an individual political stance that may be shared with other peers and coworkers. Some fields of research, such as communal archaeology or public archaeology, have taken political and ethical stances toward improving the public uses of the past. The relation between death, war and heritage is also discussed, as a fundamental concern of archaeology's theory and praxis that seldom turns out to be helpful to the public's concerns or needs. Because “culture” became a battleground, archaeology has played a pivotal role in defending cultural or identity politics worldwide, being for the benefit or detriment of human populations in the last 150 years.