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Nazi Archaeology

Decent Essays
Archaeology and archaeological findings are rarely, if ever, politically neutral. As stated by Quetzil E. Castañeda, “Once the archaeologist produces an interpretation of the past, that knowledge has a political life of its own” (as quoted in McGuire, 2008). Even if archaeologists pursue their research with no political intent, their work can be cited and used to support political agendas. Meaning, once archaeologists present the information to the public, whoever is able to access it is free to use it. Therefore, archaeology and politics are perpetually intertwined. This is not necessarily problematic, unless archaeological undertakings are commissioned with a desired outcome, as was the case with much of the Nazis’ archaeological ‘research’.…show more content…
This mindset undoubtedly creates a bias in the results: if an archaeologist sets out to find something, it is more likely he or she will find it, even if it requires tweaking some of the results. This is when the connection of archaeology and politics becomes dangerous. Consider the Nazis, who undertook archaeological projects that were intended to give substance to their malicious political agenda (which was to prove the superiority of the ‘Aryan race’). This use of archaeology as evidence for a political aims is entirely different from the situation mentioned before. In the previous case, archaeological results are referenced after the fact, meaning that the archaeologist lacked an overt political bias during the process of interpreting the information. Conversely, in the case of Nazi archaeology, the archaeologists entered the project with such a political bias, which ultimately impacts their interpretation of the results. So, the connection between archaeology and politics becomes dangerous when archaeology is carried out specifically to be used as evidence for (often malicious) political and national agendas, since this results in heavily biased, incorrect
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