Simon Ward wrote:
> Is the information gained through thorough analysis, even if it means
> the destruction of the artefact, of more or less value than the artefact
> Simon Ward
Simon, archaeology like every other field of knowledge is subject to
Second law of thermodynamics which basically is a universal law that
information only decreases.
Remember any form of "conservation" actually destroys information by
removing the context, removing substances (aka dirt) that the conserve
is unable to recognise as containing information ... but just leaving it
in the ground also destroys information.
Even a full blown investigation which destroys the (fragile) artefact
and "permanently" secures the information on paper/pc does not guarantee
any further degradation of information as there is no form of
information storage that does not eventually perish.
But to answer your question. I would say that to an real archaeologist
the only value of an artefact is the information it contains, so the
information contained in the artefact is its value.
The question(s) you should ask, is whether unlocking some of this value
now is more valuable to archaeology than hiding it away so that
EITHER potentially more information may be unlocked in the future
OR there is less funding in the future, less resources and so less
information can be obtained.
OR the artefact is simply allowed to perish loosing all the information
because you failed to extract the information when you had the funding.
You'll only know the best day for making hay on the next day when it rains!