Late last week the Society for American Archaeology Board was informed that there are two TV series planned that promote and glorify the looting and destruction of archaeological sites. They are American Diggers and Diggers. The first is scheduled for Spike TV and the other for National Geographic TV. As past SAA President Bob Kelly wrote in a recent e-mail in response to American Diggers, "This shameless and shameful program will glorify and promote the mindless destruction of archaeological sites in the U.S."
SAA and other groups, such as SHA, have already prepared and sent strong letters condemning both of these programs to the production companies, networks, and others. Copies of the SAA letters can be found on the SAA website (http://bit.ly/w2MHJM, and http://bit.ly/wzT7IA). The letters provide details on why we are so concerned. Up to this point Spike TV has not responded to the public outcry. Leadership of National Geographic, however, has indicated that, while they are unable to stop the showing tomorrow on such short notice, they will place a disclaimer into the show that speaks to laws protecting archaeological and historic sites. They are also willing to enter into discussions with the archaeological community to determine how to raise awareness of the impacts of the use of metal detectors for treasure hunting. We will advise you of developments in this area.
We are also in conversations with SHA, RPA, AIA, NASA and others to develop a coordinated response and next steps.
BUT for the Spike TV program we need your help. We ask you to individually send letters and/or e-mails to the companies involved—or take advantage of social media outlets (see below)—urging them as strongly as possible to stop this show. The contact points that we have identified so far for the Spike TV project are provided below.
Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney
Gurney Productions, Inc.
8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, California 90045
President, Spike TV
New York, New York 10019
Stephen K. Friedman
c/o MTV Studios
New York, New York 10036
President and Chief Executive Officer
New York, New York 10036
There are also Facebook pages where you can comment
One is a "People against American Diggers" facebook page:
If you would like to add comments to the Spike website, please visit the comments section at the bottom of the following page:
The Spike TV announcement is available at
From the website:
In the US, there are millions of historical relics buried in backyards just waiting to be discovered and turned into profit. "American Digger" hopes to claim a piece of that pie as the series travels to a different city each week, including Detroit, MI, Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL and Jamestown, VA searching for high-value artifacts and relics, some of which have been untouched for centuries. After pinpointing historical locations such as Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields, Savage’s first task is to convince reluctant homeowners to let his team dig up their property using state-of-the-art metal detectors and heavy-duty excavation equipment.
Fred Limp, RPA