The aerial panopticon and the ethics of archaeological remote sensing in sacred cultural spaces

Remote sensing technology has become a standard tool for archaeological prospecting. Yet, the ethical guidelines associated with the use of these technologies are not well established, and are even less-often discussed in published literature. With a nearly unobstructed view of large geographic spaces, aerial and spaceborne remote sensing technology creates an asymmetrical power dynamic between observers and the observed. Here, we explore the power dynamics involved with aerial and spaceborne remote sensing, using Foucault’s notion of power and the panopticon. In many other areas of archaeological practice, such power imbalances have been actively confronted by collaborative approaches and community engagement, but remote sensing archaeology has been largely absent from such interventions. We discuss how aerial and spaceborne imagery is perceived by local communities in southwest Madagascar, and advocate for a more collaborative approach to remote sensing archaeology that includes local stakeholders and researchers in all levels of data acquisition, analysis, and dissemination.

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Work Title The aerial panopticon and the ethics of archaeological remote sensing in sacred cultural spaces
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. Dylan Davis
  2. Dani Buffa
  3. Tanambelo Rasolondrainy
  4. Ebony Creswell
  5. Chiamaka Lauretta Anyanwu
  6. Abiola Joshua Ibirogba
  7. Clare Evans Randolph
  8. ABDERRAHIM OUARGHIDI
  9. Leanne Phelps
  10. François Lahiniriko
  11. Zafy Maharesy Chrisostome
  12. George Manahira
  13. Kristina Douglass
Keyword
  1. surveillance
  2. ethics
  3. remote sensing
  4. community archaeology
  5. Madagascar
License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)
Work Type Article
Acknowledgments
  1. We wish to thank the communities of Velondriake, Madagascar, and the entire Morombe Archaeological Project team, without whom this research would not be possible. We also want to acknowledge Prof. Akin Ogundiran for leading a thought-provoking discussion on many of the topics discussed within this article. Finally, we extend our thanks to the two anonymous reviewers who offered constructive feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript. Planet Imagery provided by the Planet Research and Education Program.
  2. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Davis, D. S., Buffa, D., Rasolondrainy, T., Creswell, E., Anyanwu, C., Ibirogba, A., Randolph, C., Ouarghidi, A., Phelps, L. N., Lahiniriko, F., Chrisostome, Z. M., Manahira, G., & Douglass, K. (2021). The aerial panopticon and the ethics of archaeological remote sensing sacred cultural spaces. Archaeological Prospection, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1819. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher
  1. John Wiley & Sons
Publication Date 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1002/arp.1819
Geographic Area
  1. Madagascar
  2. Africa
Deposited April 12, 2021

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Version 1
published

  • Created
  • Added Creator Dylan Davis
  • Added Creator Dani Buffa
  • Added Creator Tanambelo Rasolondrainy
  • Added Creator Ebony Creswell
  • Added Creator Chiamaka Lauretta Anyanwu
  • Added Creator Abiola Joshua Ibirogba
  • Added Creator Clare Evans Randolph
  • Added Creator ABDERRAHIM OUARGHIDI
  • Added Creator Leanne Phelps
  • Added Creator François Lahiniriko
  • Added Creator Zafy Maharesy Chrisostome
  • Added Creator George Manahira
  • Added Creator Kristina Douglass
  • Updated Description, License Show Changes
    Description
    • Remote sensing technology has become a standard tool for archaeological prospecting. Yet, the ethical guidelines associated with the use of these technologies are not well established, and are even less-often discussed in published literature. With a nearly unobstructed view of large geographic spaces, aerial and spaceborne remote sensing technology creates an asymmetrical power dynamic between observers and the observed. Here, we explore the power dynamics involved with aerial and spaceborne remote sensing, using Foucault’s notion of power and the panopticon. In many other areas of archaeological practice, such power imbalances have been actively confronted by collaborative approaches and community engagement, but remote sensing archaeology has been largely absent from such interventions. We discuss how aerial and spaceborne imagery is perceived by local communities in southwest Madagascar, and advocate for a more collaborative approach to remote sensing archaeology that includes local stakeholders and researchers in all levels of data acquisition, analysis, and dissemination.
    License
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
  • Updated Keyword Show Changes
    Keyword
    • surveillance, ethics, remote sensing, community archaeology, Madagascar
  • Updated Acknowledgments Show Changes
    Acknowledgments
    • We wish to thank the communities of Velondriake, Madagascar, and the entire Morombe Archaeological Project team, without whom this research would not be possible. We also want to acknowledge Prof. Akin Ogundiran for leading a thought-provoking discussion on many of the topics discussed within this article. Finally, we extend our thanks to the two anonymous reviewers who offered constructive feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript. Planet Imagery provided by the Planet Research and Education Program., This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Davis, D. S., Buffa, D., Rasolondrainy, T., Creswell, E., Anyanwu, C., Ibirogba, A., Randolph, C., Ouarghidi, A., Phelps, L. N., Lahiniriko, F., Chrisostome, Z. M., Manahira, G., & Douglass, K. (2021). The aerial panopticon and the ethics of archaeological remote sensing sacred cultural spaces. Archaeological Prospection, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1819. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
  • Added Davis_etal_2021_ARP_AV.pdf
  • Updated License Show Changes
    License
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
  • Published
  • Updated

Version 2
published

  • Created
  • Updated Publisher Identifier (DOI), Related URLs Show Changes
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)
    • 10.1002/arp.1819
    • 10.1002
    Related URLs
    • https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1819
  • Published
  • Updated