Ethical foundations of scholarly editing

For more than half a century, archaeologists have attempted to articulate ethical principles that follow, of necessity, from the nature of archaeological work. Today, every significant professional organization for archaeologists or museum curators includes explicit statements about professional ethics that all its members are expected to follow.

One of the clearest statements of this kind was adopted by the Society for American Archaeology in 1996. Please read the SAA’s “Principles of Archaeological Ethics” (online here), and consider the following questions.

  • When we edit a manuscript like the Venetus A, are we doing archaeological research?
  • What sections of the SAA’s principles apply to scholars preparing editions of texts like the Venetus A?
  • Are there ways that our collaborative work differs from archaeological research?

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