In this blog I wish to propose future solutions for archaeologists to work with salvors.
- I think that above all, all wrecks (whether they are found by salvage companies, the Navy, archaeological surveys, etc.) should be evaluated by an academic archaeologist in order to determine if the site is arcaheologically significant or not. I think that with time this stipulation should become an enforced law. Then, if the site is archaeologically significant, the proper steps for the proper excavation, conservation, and publication can be taken.This law will also allow for the protection of sites because they have been evaluated, that way if an academic archaeologist cannot get to the site right away, it will not be looted or salvaged.
- Secondly, I think that there should be a law that forces salvage companies to properly excavate and record a site to academic standards. The salvage company should also provide the adequate financing required in order to carry out projects beyond the retrieval of the artifacts to conservation, publication, and curation of the finds.
a. This law may be enacted for an archaeological site that poses some sort of threat, such as environmental, and can therefore not be postponed until an academic archaeologist is able to perform the excavation.3. With the second point being said, I also believe that in order for a salvage company’s excavation and research to be deemed legal or legitimate, it must have an academic archaeologist present during the excavation who will ensure that the proper excavation and recording of artifacts is carried out.
4. I also think that in order for academic archaeologists to participate well and willingly with salvage companies, an agreement must be made concerning who benefits financially from the excavation. I think that all archaeologists, including non-academic archaeologists, should be forbidden by law to participate in any projects that profit from the sale of artifacts. I think that this stipulation will require the utmost effort on behalf of all parties involved in an excavation.
a. I can only suggest that salvage companies will be compensated for their findings by governments or by those who support academic archaeology. I also think that some sort of agreement may be reached between salvage companies and museums, for example, which can rent objects from the salvage companies, that way the salvage company still benefits financially from its finds, but it is equally participating in the public outreach and education aspect of archaeology.
5. Conversely, I think that if academic archaeologists are not able to form a working relationship with salvage companies, they must look for assistance elsewhere. I think that one of the best bets for academic archaeologists would be to partner with government organizations, such as the Navy, which has far superior techonology. This advanced technology can give academic institutions the edge on salvage companies, as very few can afford similar technology.
a. An example of this idea being put into use today is the NR-1 nuclear submarine. This submarine can remain submerged for weeks, even months, and uses high-resolution side-scan sonar which allows it to “see” more than 600 feet on either side of the vessel. This technology is being used to pinpoint debris fields which are all potential targets for archaeological research (James Delgado 2006, 215 in Archaeological Ethics).