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Insider: The Long Arm of Politics Volume 60 Number 1, January/February 2007
by Kristin M. Romey

On working in northern Cyprus

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Archaeologists would like to believe that there are very few sites today that lie out of their reach. They're willing to slog through the driest deserts and deadliest jungles to recover the rapidly disappearing remains of our collective past. But the sad fact remains that there are easily accessible areas of archaeological importance where researchers are blocked by the long arm of politics. In such areas, scientists can either accept the status quo and look on as critical data are lost to development, looters, and the elements; or, if they truly believe they have the law on their side, risk their professional careers to recover information in areas where most of their colleagues hesitate to tread. The excavation of a 3,000-year-old settlement on the island of Cyprus is an unfolding tale of the perils of trying to break a decades-old political logjam, a frustrating conflict between archaeologists who want important research stopped for legal and ethical reasons, and those who, for legal and ethical reasons of their own, insist on continuing.

Kristin M. Romey is executive editor of ARCHAEOLOGY.

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© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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