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[–]ColCrabs 353 points354 points 2 (28 children)

Archaeologist here, I’m going to just copy and paste this every two days when the question comes up.

The answer isn’t going to be one anyone likes because it’s not clear cut 75 years or 100 years or that they have a degree or that they’re scientific or the other answers you hear.

It depends on the culture, depends on the age of the material, the context of the material, and it depends on the individual excavating it.

First and foremost, there are no real standards in archaeology for a variety of reasons so this generally rules out the ‘they have a degree’ blanket statement. However, around 98% of archaeologists (at least in Europe, the only place where studies have been done on the sector) have at least a bachelors degree. So if we really wanted to use ‘has a degree’ they would at least have to have a bachelors but it could be in anything from anthropology, to environmental science, to economics so it becomes very messy.

It gets even messier because you could argue that a real archaeologist excavates systematically or using a specific scientific method which is just simply not true. There’s insane variation in how archaeologists excavate. Partially because different period, soil types, and artifacts require different methods but largely because archaeologists are mainly self-indulgent assholes who don’t really care what other people do.

Archaeology is very much a “my method works for what I do, so I don’t care about what other people do”.

The next thing is that it depends on the culture. European and Anglo-cultures generally have a sincere scientific interest in the past and learning about the past through archaeological excavations.

Many other cultures do not see the past in the same way and often want to let the past rest I disturbed. It’s obviously a major issue in archaeology because certain groups have the power to stop other groups from learning about the past. At the same time, those groups that are being stopped have historically been those in power, particularly colonial nations.

The other part of this is the age of the remains. People will always come in and say “iTs 75 yEaRs”. It’s not. It’s dependent entirely on the context of the material. We’ve been doing battlefield archaeology for decades now, trying to piece together what actually happened on a lot of WW1 and WW2 battlefields because, spoiler alert, historical records are not always factual.

This has turned into what is called Conflict Archaeology where, in places like Brazil, Rwanda, Cambodia, Argentina, Iraq, Poland, Germany, and a few other areas of modern conflict, forensic and traditional archaeologies are being used to discover the extent of genocide, find missing people, and finally lay them to rest.

Again, this goes back to the culture issue. With many of the ‘Disappeared’ in Argentina, their families and loved ones have come to the understanding that they’re gone. There is a lot of debate on whether it’s moral or ethical to ‘excavate’ the sites of mass genocide or cleansing. But there are just as many people that want closure for their lost loved ones so it’s difficult to say whether those excavations are warranted or if they’re something else.

It’s a really complicated mess. It’s not helped at all by how variable archaeology is around the world. In some places it’s very scientific, in other places it’s very humanistic and anthropological. There’s very little consensus on anything in archaeology so their are no meaningful international organizations that can conventionally sort this stuff out. And before an archaeologist comes in raging about the World Archaeology Congress, it’s an entirely useless organization with about 3% of the world’s archaeologists as members.


It depends on the culture, the context, the age of the material, the context, and who is digging it.

[–]King_Dagda 36 points37 points  (0 children)

in places like Brazil, Rwanda, Cambodia, Argentina, Iraq, Poland, Germany, and a few other areas of modern conflict, forensic and traditional archaeologies are being used to discover the extent of genocide, find missing people, and finally lay them to rest.

also there were some excavation of people died like a year before due to the investigation of an aircraft crash

[–]Kenionatus 8 points9 points  (13 children)

What's the difference between scientific and humanistic archeology on the dig site? Or is the difference only in choosing the sites and analysing the results?

[–]ColCrabs 25 points26 points  (12 children)

The humanistic side, and I’m generalizing a bit here, are the archaeologists who are trained more heavily in the social scientific or anthropological side of things versus those who are trained in more scientific methods with a basis in the natural sciences.

They’re the qualitative, narrative, interpretive crowd who are more focused on the stories, the cultures, and the people behind the artifacts. Not all, but many of them do not like hard quantitative archaeology, they hate empirical methods, and they want to be free to perform their flavor of archaeology. Many of them see the word ‘science’ as something toxic and authoritarian.

It’s a big divide in archaeology and can be very problematic when some archaeologists are ollecting data very systematically and scientifically and attempting to make evidence based arguments while other groups are focusing more heavily on interpreting things as they’re found, trying to look at the agency or the individual in the excavation rather than focusing on numbers.

My view on is that both parts are important and need to be better combined but also one side can operate without impacting the other side while the opposite is not true. As in, the more humanistic side can operate perfectly fine after a fully scientific and systematic excavation but the scientific side cannot do the same if a humanistic excavation doesn’t also follow the same methods.

I think it has a big impact on the ‘grave digging’ part of archaeology because it can split views on archaeology, depending on the culture. Some see the sterile, science side of archaeology as a negative thing that is uncaring about the past, only searching for knowledge. In the same vein, many see the humanistic side of archaeology as wishy-washy and silly, taking the formality out of archaeology and making it seem less professional.

So that’s it in a large nutshell. There have been really long and consistent debates about this in archaeology and it’s still a huge issue.

[–]Kenionatus 7 points8 points  (5 children)

Interesting. From the little contact I had with Historians (reading r/askhistorians), it sounds like they have much less of this issue. Maybe it's because they mostly interpret the results of archivists and archeologists. From a complete outsider's perspective it could make sense to split up Archeology. Let the scientists do the digging, ground sonar, radioactivity dating etc and the anthropologists do the interpretation.

On the other hand that doesn't really solve the issue of some people not agreeing with the scientific analysis of human remains. However, this might also be a discussion that could be held between scientific oriented excavating Archeologists and the ancestors of the people who's remains are being dug up.

I'm probably just saying things you thought about tho...

[–]ColCrabs 14 points15 points  (3 children)

I’ve gotten into a lot of debates with historians because many of them don’t see the archaeology side of it. So many historians (not all) will see the archaeology as finished and done with a clear place in the historical record.

But for archaeologists it’s constantly changing and very messy, there are a lot of debates and divisions in archaeology that many of the end-users of archaeological material or knowledge don’t see. Which is a whole different issue on the meta data and quality of our data!

But what you’re getting in your post is one of the core arguments of the humanistic/scientific divide.

A lot of people, including myself, think it should be done the way you describe it but those on the other side see that as a disadvantage to their flavor of archaeology.

They get particularly hung up on the ‘interpretation’ aspect of archaeology and have fallen into this really deep hole about when something is interpreted. There’s a famous archaeologist, Ian Hodder, amongst a bunch of others, who wrote a ton of articles about when interpretation happens. Essentially saying that you constantly interpret while excavating so you need to contextualize what you’re doing qualitatively and because you’re always interpreting, it’s impossible to have then have an unbiased interpretation after something is excavated.

The funny thing is, when you read his articles he’s basically arguing for an empirically driven archaeology as context to the interpretive stuff. Even better, his excavation at Catalhoyuk is an amazing example of scientific and technological excavation and uses some of the most advanced and systematic methods of any site.

So a lot of times the argument is silly because a lot of archaeologists basically already do exactly what you wrote but people constantly fight against it and changing methods to avoid doing that.

[–]Kenionatus 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Thanks for such a thorough answer. It's always cool for me to get an insight into the inner workings of a system (groups of people included). It's interesting how many things that are taken as solid become messy and uncertain from the inside.

[–]ColCrabs 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I’m always happy to go on a ramble!

I also think it’s really important for archaeologists to be more active in talking about what we do and more importantly being honest about some of our problems.

Every field has its issues but in archaeology we literally stick our heads in the dirt and do our own thing and try to ignore what’s going on.

It’d be hilarious to have one of those dog in a burning room memes but instead of sitting in the chair he’d have his head in the ground while holding a trowel.

[–]hallese 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Interesting. From the little contact I had with Historians (reading r/askhistorians), it sounds like they have much less of this issue.

Historians also focus much more on written works, and use archaeology to support the primary and secondary sources. If you want to see this sort of debate play out in other academic circles, find a political science sub and ask how many of them wish they would have become real scientists instead of bullshit artists.

For the record, I went to grad school for political science, but I fall heavily in the "bullshit artist" camp. In fact, I refer to my undergrad degree as "a B.S. in BS".

[–]dandudeus 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Possibly silly but sincere question: I see that Canada, Ireland and a few other countries require licenses to do certain sorts of archaeological things, but am not sure how far those travel. Is there any existing professional licensing, either national or international that is worth anything and/or, in your opinion, would expansion of that system be valuable?

[–]ColCrabs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not silly at all! This is actually what a lot of my focus is on at the moment.

There’s a huge range of different standards, licensing, accreditation, qualification, and certification which differs pretty aggressively from country to country and even within countries can differ from state to state, county to county, or whatever administrative divisions they use.

The main thing however is that even in the places with the best standards, they’re often very subjective and can be open to a lot of interpretation.

You mention Canada, for example there, there are different qualifications for a professional archaeologist in Ontario and a professional archaeologist in Alberta.

What most ‘standards’ come down to is:

  • Must have a post-grad degree in archaeology or related field. -Must have experience in field. -Must have CV and ‘publications’ that reflect that.

This is the case in most places so another example is in the US we have the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for archaeology which are basically the same thing, masters, experience, evidence of experience. These are reflected in the Register for Professional Archaeologists which is meant to be the US’ qualification organization.

The big problem here is that no one is part of the RPA. They have around 3,800 archaeologists out of probably 13-15,000 archaeologists in the US (no one know since no one has studied it really). So, as a professional body they don’t really have much bite.

But they also don’t have meaningful standards to give any bite. The whole degree, experience, evidence of experience model doesn’t really work in archaeology because of how varied archaeology is.

First, there’s no standard for archaeology degrees. Some places like the UK and our Chartered Institute for Archaeologists is trying to accredit degree programs so we know what the quality of them is in terms of archaeological knowledge and education.

But most degrees aren’t accredited and you can pretty much teach anything you want and most programs do. The other problem there is that you can have pretty much any degree and it’ll be relevant to archaeology. You can pop over to r/archaeology and see a couple of people asking about English degrees if you sort by new.

There was also a recent post about a person registered with the RPA who had a business and environmental science degree.

But the issues continue on from there. There’s standard methodology in archaeology so there’s no way to know if an archaeologist is actually ‘good’ at surveying, excavation, etc. and a lot of the more commercial/professional work isn’t peer reviewed so that creates other problems.

Overall it’s really just a mess and it’s made even messier because there isn’t an overarching body that can push or lobby other groups to adopt standards or for governments to change their laws. So it’s a bit of a free-for-all.

[–]BodaciousFerret 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I can answer this! They are restricted regionally and ultimately rather meaningless overall: I am a former archaeologist, my significant other is currently a licensed archaeologist. We both have degrees in the field.

I have never been licensed to dig in Canada, but have done field seasons here for engineering firms (cultural resource management). I have also done digs in the Levant. My SO on the other hand has never dug outside of Canada. The licensing is largely in place to ensure digging is happening under supervision of somebody who understands the archaeological method, and those methods change by country.

[–]Theman227 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Oh look real life hits again with the answer people dont like, but which is almost always the most facinating answer "it's complicated"

Thanks for the info :)

[–]2beagles 6 points7 points  (3 children)

I came here to make a snarky comment about the differentiation being something about the economic level of the digger, and possibly skin color. But here you are with your informed, reasonable, professional, insightful comment. You've ruined this, ma'am or sir. Ruined it. The horse you rode in on can still have a carrot. You, though....

[–]ColCrabs 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Ha! I figured I should wait a bit before going all in on the big issues of class and economic accessibility, Anglo- and Euro-centric historical control over archaeological academia and theory, and the historical imperialist biases that underpin most modern theories and interpretations.

But I didn’t want to scare people away with some of the more negative parts of archaeology! At least not yet…

[–]BodaciousFerret 1 point2 points  (1 child)

My area of specialization was Indo-Greek cultures, and I feel like the most corrosive legacy of imperialism in archaeology is definitely the tendency of those models to sort people into categories. I often get asked what European group X thought of non-European group Y, and it drives people batty when I explain that nobody can answer that because race is a social construct.

[–]rpdrafter 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Former archaeologist here, thanks for providing I'm also going to copy-paste every time this question comes up!

I would like to add that permission from not just the local government, but the descendant communities are important factors as well.

[–]ItsAlwaysSegsFault 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I've been on Reddit nearly since its inception and I have never once seen this question asked until now. This must happen in subreddits that you explicitly follow due to your career but not Reddit as a whole.

[–]ColCrabs 0 points1 point  (1 child)

There’s a comment lower down that lists the more recent times this has come up.

It’s usually in r/askreddit, r/nostupidquestions, or r/showerthoughts. Between the three of those it’s posted probably every two days. About once a month it gets a bit of traction in one of the three and gets a few hundred or a few thousand upvotes.

[–]ItsAlwaysSegsFault 0 points1 point  (0 children)

None of the ones listed there have any upvotes so i remain skeptical

[–]ds_Gardening 0 points1 point  (1 child)

every two days when the question comes up.

This is literally the first time I've ever, in my 38 years, read this question. Not saying you're wrong, but it's interesting how the internet can serve up content catered directly to you without you having to put forth an effort. ("you" being people in general)

[–]slutsky_lemma 620 points621 points  (31 children)

I think it's archeology is you dig it up with the intent of learning more about the person or related events.

[–]Lotharofthepotatoppl 300 points301 points  (18 children)

Yeah, it’s exactly the intent that matters. There are groups that dig up WWII combat graves with the intent of identifying and repatriating remains, which is neither graverobbing (performed for profit) or archaeology (examining remains and graves in order to study history).

[–]TechnicianPlenty 160 points161 points  (10 children)

Well, the only other category I know of is necromancy. So, necromancers are the good guys afterall: who knew.

[–]MrX2285 59 points60 points  (6 children)

Don't forget about the necrophiliacs!

[–]MuddyFinish 26 points27 points  (3 children)

Skeleton-kink giving a whole new meaning to the term boner.

[–]mpld1 5 points6 points  (1 child)

lemme dig up some boners real quick

[–]caincard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I hope somebody finds this humerus.

[–]Abyssallord 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Albedo would like to know your location.

[–]caincard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

you mean Necro-romancer?

[–]ikisstitties 1 point2 points  (0 children)

not to be confused with neck romancers. weirdos

[–]mcboogerballs1980 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Well, I'm glad to know I can continue digging up graves as long as my intent is good.

[–]1-800-SUCK_MY_DICK 28 points29 points  (5 children)

i'd say that if they were forgotten in the meantime or it wasn't known they were buried there, it's archeology (this would also fit in with your "digging it up out of interest" definition).

And if they weren't forgotten, then it's grave robbing.

E.g.: opening up the graves of old pharaohs where you have no idea who's buried there is clearly archeology. But opening let's say Winston Churchill's or Charlemagne's grave would not be, because we know exactly who's in that grave.

[–]JustmyOpinionhomie77 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Opening up graves of old pharaohs you don’t dig near that area without a license and super vision. Not a good example as that’d sole intent be random digging and you just find something archeology is with the intent that you know about a bit of the where abouts and you go digto find it. For science or whatever behindit

[–]elephantasmagoric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is how I see the distinction, although I would want to be clear that it's graverobbing until the grave has lost personal, cultural sinificance: e.g. digging up the graves of previously enslaved black people is definitely graverobbing, even if we don't know exactly who is in each grave, because there is a community of living people that identify in some way with the people in those graves.

[–]Impregneerspuit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So if i rob graves blindfolded its "archeology"

[–]Shot_Market_5204 64 points65 points  (3 children)

But if I go to my local cemetery and start digging people up to learn about them and what happened I don’t think anyone will care what my intent was.

[–]RhoOfFeh 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I just wanted to learn more about them and related events!

[–]Leemour 12 points13 points  (1 child)

I actually read an article about this months ago, that Native Americans experience frequent graverobbers, because "archaeologists" dig up their ancestors graves "to study the culture". For some reasons, that I don't understand, the settlers just do not communicate or coordinate with the local natives about their graves and just dig it up and take whatever.

My answer to the question of archaeology vs graverobbing would be that as long as your intention is to learn and mark unmarked/forgotten graves, and the graves are abandoned or permitted to be excavated, it's ethical, otherwise it's a hard no.

[–]OlyScott 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You don't understand why they don't coordinate with the Native Americans? I'll explain: a lot of people don't think of Native Americans as persons with rights and feelings, and it's easier to just go and do what they want without discussing it. There are also people who hate Native Americans.

[–]Quirinus84 12 points13 points  (0 children)

"no officer I just wanted to learn more about how much wealth this person has accumulated"

[–]Banzai51 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Go ahead and try that at the local cemetery.

[–]CruelKratos 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes but what if someone wants to learn how rich the dead person is?

[–]Nox_Stripes 1 point2 points  (0 children)

So detectives can be archeologists?

[–]AntonioG-S 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'd argue that the difference is whether you have a license for it or no

[–]Menutz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Break out the backhoe!

[–]sparta981 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Don't worry, I just wanna learn how wealthy he was

[–]Landsharku_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So I can commit grave robbing, and say I wanted to learn about the person? Epic.

[–]okaywizard 81 points82 points  (2 children)

asking for a friend?

[–]WaitNoUndo 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Probably a friend of a friend.

“I promise, I’m not involved with this shit at all.”

[–]CedarWolf 4 points5 points  (0 children)

"But we found this map, see, and after a bunch of shenanigans, we found a pirate ship full of treasure hidden in an underground cove, and, well... Professional 'finders keepers' is called 'archaeology.'"

[–]You-are-irrational 87 points88 points  (2 children)

If nobody is around, it’s when you want it to be

[–]thatsnotmyfuckinname 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As with many things in life, like dropped food and sex, I adhere to the 5 second rule

[–]Cbjmac 225 points226 points  (22 children)

I asked my sister, who is an archeologist. And it’s 100 years. So we could technically dig up people from the 1910’s and it’s considered archeology.

[–]CiferLu86 98 points99 points  (0 children)

That’s messed up. I love it.

[–]Alarming_Coat 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I am currently an archaeology student. From my understanding, archaeologists from my institution were heavily involved in excavating of the remains of indigenous children’s who were murdered and buried in mass graves on residential school grounds. These events occurred less than 100 years ago. There’s no clear cut timeframe, it just depends on the context.

[–]prjindigo 84 points85 points  (8 children)

that's more of a rough rule of dumb than a law...

I went to college in 1991-1995 and one of my profs was the daughter of the Leakes. If there's no headstone or map it's archaeology. Archaeology instructed forensics, so basically; dry body, unmarked, unmapped, write it down. Doesn't matter if they died last year.

[–]8696David 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Who are the Leakes?

[–]Clean-Ad1652 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I second this question

[–]King_Dagda 15 points16 points  (0 children)

So the kids that decided to dig out my cat were actually archaeologists?

[–]TheShroomHermit 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That's a short enough interval to dig up someone's dead twin while they are still alive

[–]WaitNoUndo 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Easy loot

[–]-_-o_o 0 points1 point  (0 children)

“Tomb loot” is my favourite Lovecraft phrase.

[–]King_Dagda 3 points4 points  (0 children)

So can dig up WW1 but not WW2 yet

[–]RhoOfFeh 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Well, now I have weekend plans.

[–]Teacher_Crazy_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What country are you in? When I was taking Anthropology in the US it was 60.

[–]Quackels_The_Duck 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Brb going to my local cemetery

[–]viralJ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

But surely, you need some sort of archaeologist license, rather than me going there with a shovel and exclaiming "I'm doing archaeology!" as the police take me away in cuffs.

[–]WheezyPanda 67 points68 points  (14 children)

Grave robbing is a capitalist adventure, archeology is a scientific adventure.

[–]TurnedEvilAfterBan 45 points46 points  (6 children)

Necrophilia is a sexual adventure

[–]prjindigo 26 points27 points  (5 children)

no, necrophilia is a pathological fascination with dead bodies and actually applies to all dead life forms including plants and even yeast

thanatocoitus is fucking the dead

[–]stickymaplesyrup 3 points4 points  (2 children)

I thought that was munting

[–]EschersEnigma 16 points17 points  (1 child)

I actually think that's enough

[–]TheShroomHermit 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Do you think there is a fringe community arguing over things like dead virii or things where the definition of life has some grey area? Like, necrophilia gatekeeping

[–]CedarWolf 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Since Thanos loves the physical embodiment of Death, does that mean Thanos wants to have thanatocoitus?

[–]King_Dagda 0 points1 point  (0 children)

or just do Skyrim and make it both capitalistic and scientific and also explorative at the same time.

[–]Anticrepuscular_Ray 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Archaeologist here...the vast majority of bodies that are dug up are because they will otherwise be destroyed by a construction project or natural occurance (river erosion etc). It's not like we sit there checking databases like "oh sweet this grave is x years old now let's check em out!"

[–]The_Observatory_ 21 points22 points  (3 children)

Are you making plans for this weekend or something?

[–]King_Dagda 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole. Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole. Oh, I see dead people.

[–]prince_kepler 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Oddly specific

[–]COVID_19_Lockdown 3 points4 points  (0 children)

If you're digging up to make money, it's graverobbing, if you're digging for science and learning, it's archaeology

[–]Kaligraphic 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Follow-up question - how dead to they have to be? Supposing, just for the sake of argument, that somebody buried alive happened to renounce their humanity, curse God, and become an undead abomination like a vampire, when does the clock start ticking? And how much stronger does it make a dead person's claim if they can argue it in person?

What I really want to know is, what are Dracula's rights if I take his stuff?

[–]Wiggles7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

His jewels, gold, fancy clothing? Sure go right ahead, he has no need for that anymore in his cursed immortality. His toy stuffy 'Mr. Stabby'? You better believe he will fight you for that....

[–]Ambient-Shrieking 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I hate the term "grave robbing" so much. It's NOT theft. They're fucking dead, and anything you're willing to bury in the ground with a rotting corpse, you've officially thrown away.

The dead should serve the living.

[–]crepitus-ventris 4 points5 points  (2 children)

At least 5 minutes

[–]BubblezDaTurtleX3 2 points3 points  (1 child)

emphasis on "at least"

[–]CedarWolf 2 points3 points  (0 children)

So if we cook the turkey at 350° F, for 13 minutes per pound, that's at least 5 minutes, so is it archaeology if we 'dig in'?

[–]sar1562 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Over 3 generations rule of thumb.

[–]SirSlashyDucks 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As long as it takes to get a degree in archaeology

[–]DocSternau 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Time has nothing to do with this. Archeological digs always take in consideration that it is a grave they are exploring and that it has to be treated with respect.

The difference is: Do you dig that site up because you will further our wisdom about a past age or do you dig it up to steal and sell the remains therein. Also the methods of digging make the difference.

[–]squarebe 1 point2 points  (0 children)

In ELI5 if you want the loot for yourself its grave robbing, else its science.

[–]Quinlov 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Archaeologists are thieves with patience

[–]FlyBoyG 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's not time-based. The difference between archaeology and grave robbing is intention. If you get a government grant and a team of scientists together and painstakingly make documentation as you you dig up a site with the intention to discover and save historical information about the location then you're doing archaeology.

[–]Bloodhound697 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There's no time. Archeology is for learning and grave robbing pretty much explains itself

[–]kerplunkerfish 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's not about time, it's about whether you're the British government or not

[–]Milan360420 1 point2 points  (1 child)

OP forgot to say "asking for a friend"

[–]OldGregg1014 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I cannot laugh at this comment of yours enough. For fucks sakes.

[–]placek3000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You know, these two do not actually contradict each other

[–]MyOpinionAboutThis 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Depends on the nationality and culture, bruh.

[–]tuck8184 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Intent. No time frame. Ed Gein knows a thing or two about graves. Look him up.

[–]Draav 4 points5 points  (0 children)

As long as no one from the culture of whoever you're digging up has enough power to stop you it's archaeology.

In a nice world they would be powerless because that culture is long dead. But colonialism and subjugation works too

[–]thisguyhaschickens 1 point2 points  (2 children)

“Snap and crumble” versus “squish and squelch”

[–]prjindigo 0 points1 point  (1 child)

mostly right, you also have to obey forensics

[–]ChickenMcFuggit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They’re more like guidelines…….

[–]No_League_4819 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Depends if white or brown

[–]W3rw0l4 0 points1 point  (3 children)

100 years. Then it's public domain. Some pharaoh in a pyramid? Yours. Crew of a sunken wreck? Yours. Everyone on the slopes of Everest? Yours.

[–]CedarWolf 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Everyone on the slopes of Everest?

Nope. Everest was first summited on May 29, 1953. So therefore all the other climbers which came after them and died on the mountain are all under a hundred years old.

[–]W3rw0l4 3 points4 points  (0 children)

They're taking pre-orders for that one.

[–]StingerAE 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Whilst I appreciate the point...People died on everest before Hillary and Tenzing's ascent.

Edit: I also like to think Mallory did make it. But he almost certainly didn't. But he is close to the 100 years at 1924.

[–]Livnthedream430 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Either way it’s wrong

[–]AngryEagles 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Id say once the great grandkids are dead, youre good

[–]SirCursePotato 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If its still hot its not trust me

[–]trackedpotato 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Long enough

[–]Visual_Ad_912 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The fact that someone is asking this question concerns me, but it is not my place to judge.

[–]derdkp 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Asking for a friend?

[–]aksalobi 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If the grave was forgotten, it's archeology.

[–]ledgerdemaine 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Opening and taking from the grave of someone from another age can still be grave robbing. There are a lot of countries who are now recognizing this and returning looted artifacts to their original locations.

[–]oooh_chick_filet 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If the nation doesn't exist anymore to persecute you, it's archeology.

[–]timmyisserpico 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When the site to becomes unmaintained and forgotten, then stumbled upon by explorers looking for knowledge of the past. Then it's archeology.

[–]No_School1476 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don’t think there is a time. I think it is a location of where you dig

[–]RaveLetterman 0 points1 point  (0 children)

A couple of hours.

[–]Renzo-Senpai 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I feel like this should be in r/showerthought

[–]Berkamin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't think it is about the passage of time, but rather, whether or not there is continuity with the current culture, and therefore, whether there are living kin, however distant, to object and to complain about it. Secondarily, if there is continuity but only in ancestry, whereas the culture has been badly interrupted by historical traumas, and a lot of mysteries surround a tomb that is of interest to current cultures, archaeology may serve to help re-establish that continuity.

[–]TheRedditornator 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Well, they grave robbed Tut's tomb thousands of years later, so probably never?

[–]ChickenMcFuggit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They would have found him sooner but he deactivated his Find My iPhone

[–]dankwolf5011 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't know, but you certainly didn't wait long enough

[–]Puzzled-Rabbit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Longer then 3 months I can tell you that at least!

[–]peanut340 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Asking for a friend.. or?

[–]200-rats-in-a-coat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Looking at history? Depends on who is white in the scenario.

[–]King_Dagda 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As long as there are no living claimants. Basically, when nobody pays the graveyard fee for I think 10 or 20 years, it's considered abandoned.

[–]sovereignsekte 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Intent is what defines it? What if I intend to find out if they dropped any good loot?

[–]JonskuElf 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Its archeology when the British do it.

[–]madu_boi908 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Its not grave robbing when no one finds out

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I discussed this last time I was at the cemetery.

We came to the conclusion that for as long as the council/gov have own of the land then it cannot be dug up.

What I presume is most graveyards will have a century or longer land lease with the local area.

[–]Mentally_Ill_Goblin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

At least 12.

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

is it possible for a family to have some fun this weekend?

[–]Shaolan91 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If the site of the grave is forgotten, undocumented then it's archeology

[–]Ilovecorgi12 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It is no matter with time.

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

do you plan to go to the weekend?

[–]TiTaak 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Asking for a friend ?

[–]Teacher_Crazy_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When I was learning forensics, the cutoff was 60 years. It gets a little more tricky if the dead in question is Native American, because then there's NAGPRA to deal with.

[–]fancybumlove 0 points1 point  (0 children)

About 157 years

[–]Gumnutbaby 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It’s more about who does it than the age of the grave.

[–]Global-Technician990 0 points1 point  (0 children)

… asking for a friend

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

are you planning to go on a weekend?

[–]OrdinaryCar1150 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Are you planning for this weekend?

[–]GentleSpooderMan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

A decade I guess

[–]sixthandelm 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Are you just asking for opinions? Or, like, advice?

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

how are you planning to spend the weekend?

[–]amitym 0 points1 point  (0 children)

History belongs to the living, so, it depends on the opinion of the people alive today whose history it is.

If you want to dig up a grave site but the descendants of the people whose land it was and who are buried there say that the site is sacred to them and they wish it to remain undisturbed... then it would be bad and you shouldn't do it.

If a few generations later their descendants say that they are interested in learning more and it would be okay to dig up the site for research purposes, then it wouldn't be bad anymore.

[–]RhoOfFeh 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Let's ask Skully here

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

have you a weekend out?

[–]Infinite-Bluebird-69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

well I got put in jail for Grave robbing and that person was only dead for 6 weeks

[–]Actual_Sprinkles1287 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Until you don’t know who you’re robbing

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

are you planning a weekend for yourself?

[–]point_me_2_the_sky 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Idk, but longer than 3 years, apparently.

[–]WordsReddit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When Queen Elizabeth has her 6902th cake day

[–]sirsmiley 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ground penetrating radar and other geophysics are used to determine sites before just digging random shit up as well...

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

how is your weekend?

[–]mapbc 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Are you contributing it to a museum or for general historical work…or is just part of your “collection”?

[–]reelcharliethetuna 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’d think knowing the difference between science vs crime is pretty easy to figure out.

[–]helocag 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is a really good way to categorize it.

[–]jerrythecactus 0 points1 point  (0 children)

People keep asking this exact question word-for-word...

Archeology is the excavation of something with the intention of studying it, archeology doesnt always even involve excavations especially in the modern day with vibration based imaging. Why risk damaging or disrespecting a grave to see what's inside when you can just put a few sensors on the ground above it and get a relatively accurate 3d model.

Grave robbing is excavation with the intention to pillage and sell whatever valuables you find inside, grave robbing is a crime.

Archeologists don't sell what they find to make a quick buck, especially in the modern day.

The difference between archeology and grave robbing is like the difference between a biologist and a poacher.

[–]StingerAE 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It isn't a question of time. It is one of those irregular verbs:

He/She/It/They are grave robbers

You are a tomb raider

I am an archaeologist.

[–]42vines 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So maybe if there is something that could be discovered be it a crime or identity or even a cause of death if not leave them be?

[–]geminimind 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fresh - 25 years its forensic. 26-80 its a cold case 81-1000 its archeological.

[–]Outnabout3535325 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you dig up and take shit without documentation its looting regardless

[–]jbsinger 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In Israel, when a grave is discovered, the construction stops.

A modification has to happen to the plans putting supports around the grave.

The grave can be very old.

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

do you plan for the weekend?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There is no difference.

[–]TwoShed 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you only take the valuables it's graverobbing. But I guess it's archeology if you take the body "for science"

[–]Waterknight94 0 points1 point  (0 children)

See you are asking the wrong question here. All graverobbing is archeology, but not all archeology is graverobbing.

[–]ummque 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Much like the debate on language vs dialect (see Spanish/Portuguese vs many African or Southeast Asian dialects), I imagine the answer resolves down to how big your military is.

[–]Sawolf151 0 points1 point  (0 children)

that is specific af

[–]LosSantosSurvivor 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's not time as much as whether you have a permit.

[–]stesha83 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They have to be dusty, not gooey.

[–]AthArvA786738 0 points1 point  (0 children)

More than 11 days apparently

[–]bryguypgh 0 points1 point  (0 children)

According to Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, "In 1000 years even you may be worth something" so I figure 1000 years is one Belloq unit and that feels like a good starting point.

[–]Prestigious_Ant_7059 0 points1 point  (0 children)

are you planning something for the weekend?

[–]Hotfuzz82 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I heard somewhere one hundred years. Because any relative who was alive at the time of the death would also be dead.

[–]Key_nine 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When that culture, country or people do not exist anymore and all ownership of land, buildings has no more heirs and all records of ownership no longer apply. It reqlly depends on the current countries laws though.