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Gheorghe Alexandru Niculescu

Romania

Gheorghe Alexandru Niculescu is a senior researcher at the Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archaeology; educated at the University of Bucharest (1974-1978), Ph.D. in history (2000), archaeological training and research at the aforementioned institute (since 1985); teaches archaeological theory at the University of Bucharest; published research on ancient ethnic phenomena and on the impact of nationalism on archaeological research; published research on the politics of cultural heritage in Romania and its impact on the conservation and visibility of the artifacts; currently working on the global asymmetries of archaeological research and on the properties of typological thinking and its flattening consequences on the perception of the artifacts (preliminary findings presented at conferences held in 2016 and 2017).

RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONS: THE PLEASURE OF FINDING OUT AND THE DUTY TO KNOW

Traditions of archaeological research tend to cluster in regions of relative immobility and reduced diversity, contrasting with regions in which there is theoretical diversity and that have produced the methodological equipment used now by all archaeologists of the world.

Explanations tend to revolve around the political conditions, but analyses seldom go to the specifics, to what makes researchers embrace stale ways of doing archaeology and reluctant to examine other ideas and practices.

Taking into account the distinctions between the disciplines and the professions that are supposed to be either entirely dedicated to research or include research as a major goal might be useful. Unlike disciplines, professions are administered by state institutions and reproduce attitudes and ways of thinking that figure among the vices discussed by virtue epistemologists. Some of them are incompatible with scientific attitudes. Perhaps the most important and one of the most perplexing is the readiness to imagine truth as coming from authority, even if that authority is obviously not supported by archaeological knowledge. Being a good professional means doing what other people tell you to do, especially those who are authorized by the states to impose their views on matters they usually do not properly understand.