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Action Needed As American Diggers Goes International

As the Spike TV show American Diggers goes international, AAA Executive Board Member, Sandra L. Lopez Varela has a special request in today’s guest blog post.

The American Anthropological Association is supporting the petition of our fellow Spanish archaeologists to stop the airing of “Un Tesoro Bajo Tus Pies”, through Discovery MAX: http://www.change.org/es/peticiones/discovery-max-que-se-retire-el-programa-un-tesoro-bajo-tus-pies

This television series is the translated version into Spanish of “American Diggers”, produced by Spike TV, and that the AAA, along with other professional organizations, strongly opposed to, back in March of this year, as it wrongly represents archaeology as a treasure-seeking adventure. Committed to the scientific stewardship of the past, the AAA has sent letters to the corporate and international management of Discovery Enterprises inviting them to follow up the example given by National Geographic Channel and to initiate a similar dialogue with professional associations and archaeologists to promote an educated depiction of archaeology. But above all, the AAA has expressed its deep concerns about the potential looting and subsequent illegal trade that Discovery Communications are promoting around the world by airing “American Diggers” internationally, through their affiliated sister networks. We invite you to support this initiative and increase the voices expressing that the content of “American Diggers” is contrary to the ethics of archaeological practice.

Sandra L. Lopez Varela, Ph.D., RPA
Archaeology Seat, Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association

Archaeologists Rise Up Against “Heavy Metal”

 Our contenders in the ring of Diggergate’12 are…

Susan Gillespie, an American academic anthropologist and archaeologist, noted for her contributions to archaeological and ethnohistorical research on pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures, in particular the Aztec, Maya and Olmec.  This champion holds many titles: Associate Professor at the University of Florida, AAA Executive Board Member, 1990 Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize from the American Society for Ethnohistory and the 2002 Gordon R. Willey Prize.

Ric Savage, retired professional wrestler and history hobbyist, noted for his contributions in the independent wrestling circuits under the ring name “Heavy Metal”. Savage also hold titles: GAWF Southern Heavyweight Championship, two-time NCW World Tag Team Championship and two-time SWA World Heavyweight Champ.

The Play:
Savage’s new reality TV show, American Diggers, travels across the country digging up American treasure. In classic Heavy Metal fashion, Savage attempts to spike piledriver our nation’s history.

Bill Carter, journalist for The New York Times, interviews Gillespie as she speaks on behalf of her fellow members at AAA:

Our main issue is that these shows promote the destruction and selling of artifacts which are part of our cultural heritage and patrimony.

Savage’s Vice President for Development at Spike TV, Sharon Levy, replies with:

He has a right as an American citizen to do this…He’s not going anywhere he shouldn’t be. He’s not digging up the pyramids.

While Savage’s sunset flip might be one of his signature moves in wrestling, his unethical profiteering practices are not one for the books.

Read Carter’s article: TV Digs Will Harm Patrimony, Scholars Say

Special Note: *The great phrase DiggerGate’12 was started by our friends at The Wenner-Gren Foundation. Thanks!


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