Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research


The ICCROM conference of 1983 in Nicosia represents a turning point in the profession of archaeological conservation; here it was expressed that conservators no longer were concerned only with the preservation of excavated objects, but also with archaeological information. This study of the development of concern for the preservation of information from archaeological excavations in Palestine traces the discipline from Flinders Petrie’s first stratigraphic excavation in the region at the end of the nineteenth century to the heyday of American processual archaeology. Special attention is paid to the development of professionalism in the discipline, as made evident by the archaeologists’ efforts to remain at the cutting edge of their field, publish efficiently, and preserve the material they uncovered. It will be shown that interestingly, despite only excavating for six weeks, Petrie’s ideals in 1890 were closer to those of the 1983 conference than most his successors. The study is a response to those who have claimed that archaeology did not truly begin in the region until the 1950s and that the work done prior to this time is irrelevant for study. It is intended as a reminder of the need for professional humility and of the degree of continuity present in all intellectual disciplines that so easily is forgotten.