Lab 4: Unessay Project Overview

The goal of my Unessay Project is to comparatively distinguish if and how contemporary archaeology serves the people rather than serving itself to its own benefits. My project theme is to help diminish common assumptions of this particular study and show how the discoveries can be used to provide useful resources in ways where the dead and families of those that are no longer living can be given the  opportunity to access evidence that reveals buried truths like, what or who was actually responsible for their deaths. In addition, revealing the hidden past through contemporary archaeology of excavation sites involving buried human remains of unidentified victims that experienced violent deaths can act as a reminder and reassure people that these tragic events did occur in the past and that the families and communities that are related to these victims never initially healed from their losses.

      I was interested in this topic because personally speaking, I work with deceased individuals every week and have grown a deeper connection with the individual as well as their family and community overtime. Thus, discovering how there are individuals, families and communities that experience this intentionally wrongful coverup really captured my interest is understanding more about this field of study. Furthermore, what was interesting was to see how contemporary archaeology can unfold these truths to bring back dignity to these individuals including their family and community and be finally put to rest. I hope by revealing different archeological excavation burial sites will help capture the importance of the true aspects of contemporary archaeology in order to \to shed light on these existing communities to help people truly understand how we can effectively better serve these communities.

I learned about many different aspects to how we can better help these forgotten communities and how cotemporary archaeology acts as an assisting force to those victims of violent deaths and for the families and community involved. This research taught me that this field of study requires more support and the acknowledgement.

I integrated my final research findings into my final Unessay by incorporating images of excavation burial sites such as the one depicted below as well as potential excavation burial sites to provide some context on the history of these spaces as well as a visual connection so people can have a glimpse of what these places mean to these communities. Moreover, I inserted a few images of actual sites being excavated to illustrate the importance of respectful community involvement.  I also included a brief description of how contemporary archaeology was utilized within these spaces and how they served these communities in order to give people an opportunity to glance into the transparency of contemporary archaeology.

My take way from this project is how contemporary archaeology allows us to justify what happened in the past using respectful measures to bring peace and end the suffering of the families of the victims of violent deaths. The study also is a way that helps bring remembrance to these specific events in order to respectfully acknowledge the discovered victims as well as then events that lead to their death that have been wrongfully hidden overtime. More importantly, contemporary Archaeology is used to carefully examine the dead in order to understand more about what is existing and how we came to be where we are at today with respect to the communities associated with the victims including the victims. Thus, archaeologist must be able to properly identify themselves as supporting members that are capable of respectfully providing support, acknowledgment and help to these communities.


*Ambrose, Kevin. 2018. “The forgotten graves of soldiers killed 157 years ago, during the oppressively hot Battle of Blackburn’s Ford” The Washington Post website, Jul 18. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Baggaley, Kate. 2019. “New evidence points to mass graves of people killed in Tulsa’s 1921 race massacre” Popular Science website, Dec 18. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

*Brown, L. DeNeen. 2020. “‘Tulsa plans to dig for suspected mass graves from a 1921 race massacre’” The Washington Post website, Feb 4. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Brown, L. DeNeen. 2018. “‘They was killing black people’” The Washington Post website, Sept 28. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Gannon, Megan. 2020. “Unearthing the True Toll of the Tulsa Race Massacre” Sapiens website, May 22. Accessed [May 24, 2020].

Goldstein, Lynne and Keith Kintigh. 1990. “Ethics and the Reburial Controversy.” American Antiquity 55(3): 585-591.

Haglund, D. William. 2001. “Archaeologists as Forensic Investigators: Defining the Role” Historical Archaeology 53(1): 26-34.

*Jarus, Owen. 2018. “Photos: 1,500-Year-Old Massacre Site Unearth” Live Science website, Apr 25. [June 6, 2020].

Jones, D. Gareth and Robyn J. Harris. 1998. “Archeological Human Remains. Scientific, Cultural, and Ethical Considerations” Current Anthropology 39(2): 253-264

*Kennedy, Maev. 2018. “Swedish archaeologist uncover brutal 5th century massacre” The Guardian website, Apr 25. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

Medina, Juan., Lupton, Emily and White, Sarah. 2017. “Spanish archaeologists dig up more civil war dead from mass graves” Reuters website, Aug 30. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Mitchell, William. 2020. “Holocaust Archaeology Proves Deniers Wrong” Sapiens website, Apr 15. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Pappas, Stephanie. 2014. “First-Ever Excavation of Nazi Death Camp Treblinka Reveals Horrors” Live Science website, Mar 28. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

*Pearce, Joanna. 2019. “Digging up the Dead” Sapiens website, Nov 1. Accessed [May 24, 2020].

Scarre, Geoffrey. 2003. “Archaeology and Respect for the Dead” The Journal of Applied Philosophy 20(3): 237-249

Shelbourn, Carolyn. 2013. “Burial archaeology: reflections on the law, policy and ethics of research on human remains and ‘digging the dead’” Art Antiquity & Law 18(1): 59-75

*Strauss, Mark. 2016. “When Is It Okay To Dig Up The Dead?” National Geographic website, Apr 7. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Svoboda, Elizabeth. 2016. “Unearthing the Atrocities of Nazi Death Camps” Scientific American website, Apr 30. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *