The Ethics and Aesthetics of Archaeology

Country: United Kingdom

City: Durham

Abstr. due: 01.09.2014

Dates: 06.11.14 — 07.11.14

Area Of Sciences: History and archeology;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Durham University


This conference represents the culminating event in an 18-month AHRC-funded network project on ‘The Aesthetics and Ethics of Archaeology’.

Keynotes speakers will include: Prof. Carolyn Korsmeyer (Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo [SUNY]), Prof. Peter Lamarque (Department of Philosophy, University of York), Prof. Howard Morphy (ANU College of Arts and Sciences), Prof. Alison Wylie (Departments of Philosophy, University of Washington and Durham University).

The research network

The project is led by Professor Elisabeth Schellekens and Dr. Robin Skeates and benefits from collaborating with the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford, the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London, the British Museum, and the Centre for the Ethics of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage at Durham University.

The aesthetics and ethics of archaeology

The project explores how ethical concepts – such as moral responsibility, stewardship, duty, virtue, and developing our moral education – are related to how we create, appreciate and curate archaeological objects with respect to their aesthetic character. The exploration of these practical concepts will not only be of significant interest to philosophers, while the examination of more theoretical concerns can help archaeologists and museum and heritage managers re-evaluate their ideas about the nature and implications of their work. Relevant issues include the long-term preservation of archaeological remains, the ownership and repatriation of artefacts, the role of Indigenous communities as custodians of their heritage, the treatment of human remains, the respect owed to past and living cultures, the aesthetic (as well as scientific) qualities and value of ancient objects, and the illicit (and legal) trading of antiquities. It could also lead them to reformulate their codes of professional ethics.

Conference Web-Site: