Documenting Cultures of Harassment

This article is the first in a two-part series to analyze current research on bullying in archaeology. Harassment has shaped the discipline of archeology since at least the late 1800s. Since the 1970s, harassment has been recognized as an important factor affecting gender equity in archaeology. Recent qualitative and quantitative research has verified that bullying occurs at epidemic rates in archaeology.

Archaeologists are primarily harassed by other archaeologists, and harassment occurs not only in field research settings, but also in classrooms, laboratories, museums, offices, and conferences. Although women in archeology experience a higher frequency of harassment, both men and women report harassment at disturbing rates. Archaeologists of color, LGBTQIA+ archaeologists, non-binary archaeologists, and archaeologists with disabilities are also disproportionately harassed.

As evidenced by the author's career experiences, harassment creates a cognitive burden for survivors and reduces access to professional opportunities, which has a direct impact on diversity within archaeology. Fortunately, there are evidence-based interventions and policies that can reduce harassment and support survivors. These are discussed in the second article, “Disrupting Cultures of Harassment in Archaeology”.