Archaeology and Ethics: What Place for Speleologists?

  • Christophe Gauchon Fédération française de Spéléologie, Commission nationale du Patrimoine et de l’Architecture-6ème section « Grottes ornées », France
Keywords: archaeology, speleology, heritage, ethics, exploration
Language(s): French


Speleologists are at the same time explorers, observers and users of the underground world which contains many heritages. While the imperative obligation to guarantee the most effective protection for these heritages is shared by all, the text tries to take into account the different regulatory statutes that apply to archaeological remains, living and abiotic heritages. However, ethics consists precisely in rebalancing, as much as possible, these different levels of regulation. Exploration speleology obviously aims to discover new cavities and new networks, and even if this is not their primary motivation, speleologists are sometimes led to discover archaeological remains as well. These discoveries, obtained by different means, lead to a rethinking of the conditions of access to the underground world, generally strongly defended by speleologists. A dialogue must then be established with archaeologists so that the protection and study of these remains is not at the detriment of conservation or the various stakeholders. Ethical responsibility is thus shared.

How to Cite
Gauchon C. Archaeology and Ethics: What Place for Speleologists?. Can. J. Bioeth. 2019;2:194-200.