Friday, August 11, 2017

Privatizing Israeli salvage archaeology?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Israel to Begin Privatizing Large-scale Archaeological Excavations. Senior archaeologists warn the decision will lead to unprecedented destruction of archaeological findings and serious harm to archaeology as a science in Israel. Netivei Israel, the company that normally handles salvage excavations, has some big projects coming up. So they are planning to privatize the process. But the IAA and others see problems.
The Antiquities Authority and university archeological institutes were shocked to discover the conditions included in the bidding process. The contractor is required to meet strict deadlines, for example in the Motza dig, the authority estimated just the initial stage would take about a year; while the tender requires the entire dig to be completed in seven months – with almost no taking into account of the findings. In addition, the experience required for the archeologist n charge of the excavation is minimal, only 10 squares over the past 10 years. Now the archeologist will be required to dig hundreds of squares in a few months. “It’s like taking a home renovator to build the runway at Ben-Gurion Airport,” said someone involved in the matter.

Another problem is that the tenders do not require the scientific publication of the findings, which means the results might not be available to scholars in the future, say archeologists. The bids also do not specify the depths of the excavations, giving the contractors an incentive to dig as little as possible and discover as little as possible to keep to the tight schedule.
I'm sure we'll hear more about this.

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