The Ethics of Archaeology Documentaries

Dublin Core


The Ethics of Archaeology Documentaries


Session 5
UCH in the Making… online session


Archaeology documentaries are an essential tool in the communication of archaeology to the public. It is in the interests of the discipline to ensure that archaeological research is portrayed accurately and ethically. Various professional archaeology organisations have developed voluntary codes of ethics for their members, yet documentary filmmakers are not bound by an established code of professional ethics. This study investigates whether archaeological codes of ethics can apply to filmmakers of archaeology documentaries, with a specific focus on films with underwater cultural heritage (UCH) subjects.

This study also seeks to explore specific ethical considerations. It looks at the range of key stakeholders in archaeology documentaries, including participating archaeologists, the cultural stakeholders of the heritage site (eg. survivors of wreck events, descendants of individuals involved, and affiliated contemporary cultural groups), organisations with heritage management responsibilities, members of the public and interest groups. The concept of “truth” and its representation in film is discussed, as is the impact of filming on the conservation of UCH sites.


Karen Martin-Stone


November 2011



Karen Martin-Stone , “The Ethics of Archaeology Documentaries,” The MUA Collection, accessed November 14, 2018,

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