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Archaeological Ethics, Video-Games, and Digital Archaeology: A Qualitative Study on Impacts and Intersections

Dennis, Laura Meghan (2019) Archaeological Ethics, Video-Games, and Digital Archaeology: A Qualitative Study on Impacts and Intersections. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Representations of archaeology in media such as films and television have been historically problematic. Video-games, however, have taken these depictions of archaeology and archaeologists to the next level, not only allowing media consumers to view unethical behaviors such as looting and site destruction, but to participate in them, as willing and complicit bad actors. In 2017, the video-game industry reported a worldwide 36 billion US dollars in consumer spending, with over 6 billion of that spending occurring within the United Kingdom. In order to confront the deep and growing ethical implications for archaeology, this project turns a spotlight onto two key areas of concern: video-game players’ perceptions and professional archaeological practices. In the first instance, I seek to understand whether depictions of archaeologists in video-games impact player perceptions of archaeologists as skilled professionals. This research contributes to contextualizing the relationship between representations of archaeological practices in the real and virtual worlds. From here I turn to matters of ethical practice in professional archaeology, seeking to understand how ethics are being considered (if at all) in evolving digital archaeological practice. I attempt to isolate the ways in which archaeological practitioners are, and are not, considering the ethical implications of the digital components of their work, and how those ethical issues may impact future practice. Tying these two areas together is a discussion on the nature of current and near-future archaeology as a practice existing both in the real and the virtual. As perceptions of archaeologists are being shaped by video-game representations, the perceptual line between digitally virtual representations of archaeologists and digital archaeologists blurs. Understanding the current ethical failings of both is crucial to ensuring that future conduct on the part of archaeologists is grounded in professional standards based on reflexive, conscientious, and publicly accountable practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Laura Meghan Dennis
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2019 10:16
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2019 10:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24400

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