Archaeologists as spies? Saint Martin's professor's article takes a look at the topic
Thursday, August 28, 2003
Lacey, Wash. - An article about the links between
archaeologists and espionage written by Saint Martin's College faculty
member David Price, Ph.D., has been published in Archaeology magazine.
The stuff of such fictional adventures as the Indiana Jones movies, it
is a subject that has remained relatively unscrutinized in the real
Price’s article, “Cloak and Trowel,” explores how
various American archaeologists, with their credentials and knowledge of
local surroundings and people, have easily slipped into
intelligence-gathering roles since the early 20th century. His article
also raises questions about the ethics of mixing of politics and science
in light of today’s political climate.
His article was the subject of an Aug. 27 segment of
National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation.”
Price, who chairs the college’s sociology and cultural
anthropology department, has long been a student of archaeological
history. He became interested in the subject in 1985, while studying for
his master’s degree at the University of Chicago. While there, he says
he often interviewed his professors to learn more about the subject. As
his interest deepened, he started using a combination of interviews,
archival work and the federal Freedom of Information Act to access
classified documents. Through these, he has gained insights into the
tangled relationship between archaeologists and the CIA, FBI and
Department of Defense.
His ongoing study of privacy issues and legislation
that restricts the rights of U.S. citizens has led to his forthcoming
book, “Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance
of Activist Anthropologists.” The book, due out from Duke University
Press next spring, recounts the subjugation of American anthropologists
to local and national loyalty hearings during the 1940s and 1950s.
Price, a Saint Martin’s faculty members since 1994, is
a graduate of The Evergreen State College. After earning his master’s
degree at the University of Chicago, he completed a doctorate at the
University of Florida. He has done archeological and anthropological
work in several locations, including Egypt, Israel and the Northwest.
For more information:
Senior editor; media relations coordinator
360-438-4541 or email@example.com
David Price, Ph.D.
Chair, sociology/cultural anthropology