At 12:47 26/04/01 +0100, Ben Timberlake wrote:
>I've been asked to help script a documentary on how people value the past.
>It asks why governments and the general public should give money to
>preserve archaeological sites and what 'returns' cultural and otherwise we
>can hope for. I am looking for good quotes that can help summarise the
>various arguments. I am particularly interested in how we can justify
>spending lots of money on sites in areas of extreme poverty when many
>locals may argue that the money is better spent on the present i.e the
>living vs. the dead. Some of the better britarch discussions have touched
>on many of the points these questions raise, is there some incredible quote
>that sums it all up yet is short enough for Chris Smith to get as a tattoo?
--Strangely enough, this topic has recently arisen on another list,
although it was concerned solely with megaliths. My own response was simply
that places in our past make us think about our relationship with the
present and the future. If we look at how other people have lived, it gives
us the ability to comprehend that where and how we are at present is not
the only place and way to be. If we can comprehend that there are different
ways of being, then we can comprehend that there may be better ways of
being. These sites give us a sense of our place in the environment - in
both place and time.
In areas of extreme poverty, however, it is, I feel, quite difficult to
justify certain projects. Do we really need to excavate another Roman villa
or would the money be better off going to improve present living conditions
or current environmental concerns?
Research Student, IWE
Cranfield University at Silsoe