As an archaeologist, it is often difficult to empathize with looters and collectors, but we would like to ask that you put aside any pre-conceived notions of judgment as we consider the question: when does a looter’s tool become an artifact? For the two of us, this particular dialogue began in the summer of 2013 on an excavation at Sierra Diablo Cave in western Texas. In that cave was a winch that we assume was constructed on or near the site as a tool for excavating deposits near the rear of the cave.
Selden, Robert Z. Jr. and Vasquez, J Javi, "Cave Winch: When a Looter's Tool Becomes an Artifact" (2017). CRHR: Archaeology. 240.
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